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Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

HRC 47: Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Nordic Baltic statement delivered by: H.E. Ms Anna Jardfelt, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the UN in Geneva

01 JUL 2021

Madam President,

 

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and my own country Sweden.

We thank the Special Rapporteur for her important and timely report.

A democratic society depends on the respect for freedom of opinion and of expression. It is essential to ensure individuals’ opportunities to participate in political processes, society at large and enables a number of other rights to be enjoyed.

We are concerned by an increasing public mistrust in journalism, media and in democratic institutions. Disinformation – including online - is contributing to this worrisome trend. The negative consequences of the pandemic have been aggravated by undue restrictions on the right to freedom of opinion, expression, and media freedom in many countries.

Responses to the underlying factors of disinformation should be in full compliance within the international human rights framework and requires active engagement by states, companies, civil society and media.

We welcome multi-stakeholder consultations on safeguarding and promoting human rights online and offline, which is essential to the right to freedom of expression.

Ms. Special Rapporteur, what would you say are the most essential responses to address disinformation without infringing upon the right to freedom of expression?