Report on disinformation
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
To the HRC, 47th session
In the present report, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression examines the threats posed by disinformation to human rights, democratic institutions and development processes. While acknowledging the complexities and challenges posed by disinformation in the digital age, the Special Rapporteur finds that the responses by States and companies have been problematic, inadequate and detrimental to human rights. She analyses that it is easy – but dangerous – to lose sight of the value that digital technology offers to democracy, sustainable development and human rights, or the vital importance of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in that equation. That is why attempts to combat disinformation by undermining human rights are short-sighted and counterproductive. The right to freedom of opinion and expression is not part of the problem, it is the objective and the means for combating disinformation.
She calls for multidimensional and multistakeholder responses that are well grounded in the international human rights framework and urges companies to review their business model and States to recalibrate their responses to disinformation, enhancing the role of free, independent and diverse media, investing in media and digital literacy, empowering individuals and rebuilding public trust.