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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)

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Instagram Helps Women to Overcome Miscarriage Distress: Study

The extent to which this loss affects women and their families, and the longevity of their grief is a blind spot for clinicians

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As far as we know, this is the first study to look at the intersection of Instagram and miscarriage. Pixabay

Despite its common occurrence, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding miscarriage and many women find that their emotional and psychological needs are unmet as they go through a devastating grieving process. But for some, Instagram has emerged as a tool to cope with such distress, a study says.

The study, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, found that the content posted by Instagram users included rich descriptions of the medical and physical experiences of miscarriage, and the emotional spectrum of having a miscarriage and coping with those emotions, the social aspect, and family identity.

“I find it endlessly fascinating that women are opening up to essentially strangers about things that they hadn’t even told their partners or families,” says Dr. Riley. “But this is how powerful this community is,” said Amy Henderson Riley, Assistant Professor at the Jefferson College of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University, US.

The findings are based on a qualitative research study on 200 posts of text and pictures shared by Instagram users.

“What surprised me the most was how many women and their partners identified as parents after their miscarriage and how the miscarriage lasted into their family identity after a successful pregnancy,” said Rebecca Mercier, Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University.

“The extent to which this loss affects women and their families, and the longevity of their grief is a blind spot for clinicians,” Mercier said.

These personal accounts also provided insight into patients’ perspectives of typically defined experiences.

For example, in the clinic, the typical definition of recurrent pregnancy loss is after three pregnancies. However, the researchers found that many patients who had had two or more miscarriages identified with having recurrent pregnancy loss.

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Despite its common occurrence, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding miscarriage and many women find that their emotional and psychological needs are unmet as they go through a devastating grieving process. But for some, Instagram has emerged as a tool to cope with such distress, a study says. Pixabay

“I’m hoping that this study will encourage clinicians to point patients to social media as a potential coping tool, as well as to approach this subject with bereaved and expecting parents with more respect and empathy,” Mercier said.

Social media is becoming a common avenue for patient testimonials. For example, the short video-sharing platform TikTok has recently become a home for some users to make videos sharing their personal health struggles.

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“As far as we know, this is the first study to look at the intersection of Instagram and miscarriage,” Riley said.

“But this is a drop in the bucket. Social media platforms are evolving rapidly and a theoretically grounded research must follow,” she added. (IANS)