MINSK, 3 June (BelTA) - Permanent Representative of Belarus to the UN Office and other international organizations in Geneva, Switzerland Larisa Belskaya took part in an online seminar "Towards a common approach to countering disinformation online" on 2 June, BelTA learned from the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The event was organized by the EU and a number of countries, including Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia and Japan, on the sidelines of the World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2022 in Geneva.
According to the Belarusian permanent representative, many countries face the problem of disinformation, including Belarus, which has become a target of disinformation organized by state and non-state structures from abroad.
The representative of Belarus drew attention to the negative impact of the alleged fight against disinformation on the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and pluralism of opinion. She recalled how, in the context of the migration crisis of 2021, the Polish authorities did not allow media representatives into the border zone, concealing the facts of ill-treatment of migrants and asylum seekers. At the same time, EU sanctions were imposed on Belarusian media representatives under the pretext of countering disinformation. Even the spokesperson of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was put on the sanctions list for expressing the official position of the Belarusian government on the migration crisis.
Larisa Belskaya added that in connection with the conflict in Ukraine, a large-scale cleansing of the information field in Western countries is being carried out under the guise of fighting disinformation. Media resources that oppose the Western mainstream and broadcast an alternative view of the situation in the region are seen as a source of disinformation and subject to blocking.
The Belarusian diplomat stressed that such actions are hardly consistent with international and European standards of freedom of access to information and pluralism of opinion, but rather resemble a witch hunt and outright political censorship.
In her words, on the UN platform and in interstate relations it is important not only to combat the phenomenon of disinformation but also prevent it through a timely and comprehensive dialogue between the states concerned.