On Tuesday, April 25, 2023, H.E. Sarah Safyn Fyneah, Permanent Representative of Liberia to the United Nations addressed the 45th Session of the UN Committee on Information. Full statement is below:
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My delegation commends you and the other members of the Bureau on your election and assures you of Liberia’s support as you lead this committee.
Liberia takes note of the Secretary General's reports on the activities of the Department of Global Communications, including its campaigns and country operations, news, outreach and knowledge services; and thanks Under-Secretary General Melissa Fleming for her informative briefing on Monday.
We applaud the Department of Global Communications for featuring Liberia in the fourth phase of the Service and Sacrifice campaign, recognizing the service of the nearly 200 uniformed personnel serving in peacekeeping missions in Mali, Sudan, and South Sudan. The campaign received wide coverage in Liberia, thanks to the partnership between the Department and the Government. It was a moment of pride for not just the peacekeepers, but the country, given its recent history of being a beneficiary of peacekeeping operations.
The work of the Department of Global Communications has never been more important, nor more challenging than it is today. There are multiple global crises-- armed conflicts, worsening climate emergency, accompanied by the upsurge in misinformation and disinformation. Amidst these challenges, it is critical that the United Nations remains impartial in its global reportage. Hence, we applaud the Department for striving to remain a credible source of accurate information. The expansion of the ‘verified’ campaign’s focus to include the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially hate speech, mental health issues and gender-based violence were welcomed initiatives.
The public information that the Department provides and the audiences it serves is as varied as the United Nations itself. Hence, we welcome efforts to implement thematic campaigns on a diverse range of topics including the Sustainable Development Goals, Climate Change, Human Rights and UN Peacekeeping operations, as well as the innovating of products and structure to reach more people with the right message. The focus on Africa’s social and economic development and peace and security through the Africa Renewal digital magazine and its monthly newsletter and social media platforms are appreciated.
We are pleased that the Department of Global Information is striving to keep up with the constantly changing field of Information, especially the frequent birth of new digital technologies and platforms. These come with challenges, including misinformation and disinformation. We appreciate the Department’s recent briefing on efforts to create a ‘Code of Conduct for Information Integrity on Digital Platforms’ as recommended by the Secretary General in his report on ‘Our Common Agenda’. We encourage an inclusive and holistic process that will involve countries that are advanced digitally and countries that are still in the developmental stage, as well as other relevant stakeholders. We look forward to the release in May, of the policy brief that will outline the scope of the process.
While we appreciate the Department’s use of digital media to reach larger audiences and its efforts to make it more reliable, it is important to acknowledge that the digital divide still exists. There are many communities that do not have access to the internet. We encourage the United Nations to do more to secure greater internet connectivity, especially in developing countries. We also encourage the United Nations to continue its partnership with the traditional media, noting that in many communities, they remain the only accessible source of information.
We also encourage the United Nations to continue to empower its Information Centers in Africa and around the world, building the capacities of staff and partnership with national media.
Thanks for your attention.