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Russian diplomat suggests UN should develop strategy to fight fake news

April 25, 20:16 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has compared fake news stories to a virus epidemic in the scope of their damage

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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

© Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

UNITED NATIONS, April 25. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has urged the UN Secretariat to develop an international strategy of fight against fake news and disinformation that she compared to a virus epidemic in the scope of damage.

"Mass production" of fake news has resulted from a slump in professional standards in media against the background of unfounded restrictions by law, she said at the 39th session of the UN General Assembly’s Committee on Information.

"Our delegation submits a motion to include in the resolutions that will be prepared by the Committee on Information recommendations to start work on developing key parameters for a strategy of fight against fake news and disinformation," she said.

"The Russian side will be ready to offer all-round assistance in the implementation of the task whose importance for aims of constructive development of healthy information environment can be hardly overestimated," Zakharova added.

The spokeswoman warned about an "unprecedented in the depth of problems and amount of risks" crisis, which she believes was triggered "by global political turbulence and return by some states of the globe to the practice of information confrontation under the Cold War pattern".

"The practice of unfounded legislative and functional restrictions on media activity keeps spreading. Against this background, media resources are facing a crisis of trust from the readers, triggered first of all by a slump in professional standards, which are manifested not in the least in the mass production of the so-called fake news," Zakharova said.

She compared these fake news stories to a virus epidemic in the scope of their damage. "And like in systemic efforts against any trans-border pandemic, a strategy is needed to counter this threat on a supra-national level," she said explaining Russia’s stance.

The diplomat also pointed to other problems facing the present-day international information environment. "Freedom of speech, unbiasedness and objectivity are increasingly often sacrificed to political situation, while the global information space is degenerating and falling into politically motivated fragments following the development of confrontation tendencies in global policy," she added.

The Russian diplomat said impunity for crimes against journalists "remains a sad reality in a number of countries living in peace, as well as countries that are conflict zones".

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