On the 1st of October, the first informal meeting of UNESCO took place. With the subject being “Restoring Confidence in Information and Democracy”, it allowed all delegates to voice different opinions on this very controversial subject. The delegates got the opportunity to meet each other and form alliances, enemies, and even neutral stances. During the beginning of the meeting, we saw were each country stood clearly, with countries like the United Kingdom, who believe that restoring confidence in a democracy is a main concern and that citizens should have complete freedom. As well as countries like Saudi Arabia, who are willing to filter media in the protection of their people from propaganda.
Afterwards, the delegates moved on to Strong Statements. It revolved around an article that evidently showed both Russian and Chinese campaigns that spread fake news on Meta. This article sparked a lot of debate between the parties, with Australia claiming that the countries should be held accountable for their actions, and Russia saying that western powers are attacking them for thinking these campaigns were purposeful.
Ukraine and Russia’s feud
After Ukraine’s delegate requested an informal debate, a debate was truly sparked, mainly with Russia and Ukraine. The debate’s floor was openly split into two groups, Russia’s alliances (like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela), and Ukraine’s alliances (like the United Kingdom and France). Russia’s main point of opinion was that in some terms, censorship is sometimes mandatory to protect the public from dangerous fake news. However, Ukraine replied by saying that this is an act against human rights and that people should have the freedom in choosing what to believe in. This outwardly made all countries interested in participation, with India and Venezuela being called in and even non-democratic countries like Morocco and Tunisia. Overall, this period was extremely successful in introducing everyone’s outlook and will help with building a very strong basis for the duration of the next UNESCO meetings.
Malak Dissi / S5ENA / ESMol