UNGA Adopts Proclaiming Global Media and Information Literary Week

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Volkan Bozkır, President, United Nations General Assembly

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted a  Resolution proclaiming October 24 to 31 of every year as the International Global Media Literacy Week. In the resolution, the Assembly requested the UN Secretary-General to bring the resolution to the attention of all Member States, organizations of the UN system and civil society organizations for appropriate observance of the week. 

UNGA, in the Resolution also invited all Member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, other international organizations and civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, to commemorate Global Media and Information Literacy Week in the way that they each considers most appropriate, including by focusing on commemorative, educational and public awareness activities that tackle the issue of disinformation and misinformation, within their existing resources.

In addition, it encouraged all Member States to develop and implement policies, action plans and strategies related to the promotion of media and information literacy, and to increase awareness, capacity for prevention and resilience to disinformation and misinformation, as appropriate.

Encouraging all Member States to incorporate youth perspectives in media and information literacy policies, strategies and initiatives, and to actively involve youth in the promotion of media and information literacy, the Resolution also urged them to ensure that their plans, policies and strategies to counter disinformation and misinformation are in keeping with the principles of independent and pluralistic media and the right to freedom of expression and opinion.

The Resolution encourages Member States, the United Nations system and all other relevant stakeholders to enhance cooperation on media and information literacy at the global, regional and national levels, under the coordination of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), as well as to strengthen communications capacities and improve media infrastructure and communications technology in developing countries, especially in the areas of training and dissemination of information.

It called upon United Nations agencies, funds and programmes to deepen their cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in this field and to support Member States, upon their request, in promoting media and information literacy and in observing Global Media and Information Literacy Week.

The Resolution encourages relevant private sector organizations, including technological intermediaries and social media platforms, to promote media and information literacy, as a way to empower all people and facilitate digital inclusion and global connectivity, and to assist in the fight against disinformation and misinformation.

The General Assembly adopted this resolution reaffirming, recalling and welcoming several principles and resolutions which harp on the importance of Media and Information Literaacy and support the adoption of the Week.

The Resolution, among other things, emphasises that media and information literacy is also needed for the achievement of sustainable development; recognises also the importance of access to information and communication technologies, including in relation to connectivity and the development of broadband infrastructure and services, especially in a post-pandemic world, and stressing the need to ensure that the benefits of these technologies are accessible to all countries.

It takes note also of the cross-regional statement on the infodemic in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), endorsed by 130 Member States, as well as an observer State and a Permanent Observer, andof the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, in which it is proposed that the United Nations system establish and strengthen partnerships with new and traditional media to promote the values of tolerance, non-discrimination, pluralism and freedom of opinion and expression, and to address hate speech narratives.

The Resolution was adopted at UNGA 58th plenary meeting on March 25, 2021.