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Stop Using Social Media To Spread Hate, UN Calls For Action

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Social media sites are generally responsible for initiating the spread of . Pixabay

As the UN paid tributes to the victims of the Sri Lanka Easter Sunday terrorist attacks, calls were made to take action to prevent use of social media to spread hate and bigotry.

“While protecting freedom of expression, we must also find ways to address incitement to violence through traditional and social media,” General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces said on Friday at the event commemorating the 253 victims.

“It is sobering that the theme of World Press Freedom Day today is: journalism in times of disinformation.

“We must ensure that new and evolving technologies promote – and do not harm – human security,” she added.

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed spoke about social media being used to spread hate.

“The world is experiencing a dangerous rise in intolerance, xenophobia and racism. And today such hatred spreads easily and swiftly on the Internet.

“The UN continues to strengthen its efforts to counter and prevent terrorism and violent extremism,” Mohammed added.

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative Rohan Perera was more forthright in calling for a consensus on how to regulate social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to prevent them from becoming the medium to spread hate.

“It is time for us to explore the possibility of an international consensus on a regulatory framework.

“It is vital, if we are to preserve democratic space, that valuable tools such as Facebook and Twitter among others, are utilised as spaces to nurture healthy debate rather than breed violence and extremism,” he said.

Sri Lanka had temporarily banned all forms of social media immediately after the April 21 bombings because it was being used to circulate fake news and create enmity between communities.

Access was restored on April 30.

Perera, who is the chair of the Working Group on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, urged all nations to come together and adopt the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) that was proposed by India in 1996.

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Denouncing the use of religion to justify violence, Mohammed said: “As a Muslim, I know my faith preaches peace and tolerance. Tragically yet, again and again, the world is seeing places of worship become killing grounds and houses of horror. VOA

“Too much blood has spilt for us to remain deadlocked on this issue.

“The time has come for the international community to go beyond words and to demonstrate political will and commitment in taking the last remaining step to conclude the CCIT and complete the sectoral multilateral treaty regime to address the global phenomenon of terrorism.

“The international community must send out a strong signal of its collective will to combat terrorism and contribute to the effective implementation of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy,” he added.

India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin joined Perera in appealing for an agreement on the CCIT.

Perera, “has, for more than two decades, tried to steer us to an outcome on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism”, Akbaruddin said.

“Perhaps, as a tribute to the victims in his country, we can all try and strengthen efforts to achieve that objective of a putting in place a global legal framework to counter a global scourge,” he added.

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It is sobering that the theme of World Press Freedom Day today is: journalism in times of disinformation.Pixabay

Denouncing the use of religion to justify violence, Mohammed said: “As a Muslim, I know my faith preaches peace and tolerance. Tragically yet, again and again, the world is seeing places of worship become killing grounds and houses of horror.

“Churches, mosques, synagogues and the religious sites of many faiths are being targeted for murder, arson, vandalism and desecration… We must reject this form of violence.”

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Espinosa reflected on how religions can bring people together.

“I was deeply moved by the images of Sri Lankans – Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sinhalese, Tamil and others – donating blood to treat survivors,” she said. “Mosques and temples have opened their doors to Christian services. That is an inspiring expression of courage and resilience.” (IANS)

Next Story

Pakistan’s Fake Social Media Accounts Spreading Lies on Kashmir

Pakistan has adopted the strategy of giving a religious colour to its propaganda campaign, posing a fake threat from India, while reminding India of the consequences of the rise of extremist forces

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Social Media Icons. VOA

Fake social media accounts, often emanating from Pakistan, continue to paint a grim picture of Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370.

From passing off a High Court-ordered drive to clear illegal encroachments on forest land in Himachal Pradesh as “barbarism” in the Kashmir valley to terming mobile phone restrictions in the region as “siege in Kashmir”, a false narrative propagated by Pakistanis’ propaganda machinery finds many takers on social media, partly due to relentless promotion by fake accounts.

“Pakistani terror & proxy war paraphernalia burning vehicles, attacking fruit growers & merchants, killing & threatening shopkeepers, enforcing shutdown and calling this SIEGE,” Imtiyaz Hussain, a top IPS officer in Jammu and Kashmir, said in a tweet on Thursday.

“For all those ‘SIEGE’ obsessed reporters. There’s no SIEGE in Kashmir except some restriction on mobile phones which’s being lifted soon. Post 5th August except initially for few days, there hasn’t been any restriction imposed by Govt. Roads & streets are full of people, vehicles,” Hussain said in an earlier tweet.

Fact-checking website BOOM on Wednesday reported that a two-year-old video of clashes between protesters and security personnel in Kashmir is now being shared as the reaction of Kashmiris following the scrapping of Article 370.

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The end of Article 370 heralds a new beginning for many Kashmiris, despite the doom and gloom in some quarters over its revocation. Pixabay

For more than one month now, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the public relations wing of the Pakistan armed forces, is busy spreading fake news related to Kashmir in a bid to sow seeds of discord among security forces and fuel hatred among citizens in India.

As part of its information warfare, Pakistan has resorted to spreading propaganda, fake news, threatening statements and manipulating the social media.

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Pakistan has adopted the strategy of giving a religious colour to its propaganda campaign, posing a fake threat from India, while reminding India of the consequences of the rise of extremist forces. (IANS)