On Wednesday, 29 September, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL)’s Public Information and Communication Section and Facebook convened a virtual roundtable with Libyan actors to address the issue of online misinformation/disinformation in Libya. Over 20 participants representing different media outlets, academics, social media influencers and bloggers, political commentators, relevant governmental representatives, and representatives of civil society organisations attended the Roundtable.
The event examined the misinformation/disinformation landscape in the Libyan traditional and social media spheres, ways to combat and prevent the proliferation of misinformation on Facebook, the role of stakeholders – including media outlets, third-party fact checking mechanisms, and technology and community integrity.
On behalf of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General and Head of UNSMIL, Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) and Mission Coordinator Mr. Raisedon Zenenga addressed the opening session, underlining the value of the joint efforts with Facebook to address the issue of misinformation and disinformation in Libya, as part of ongoing effort to combat hate speech, incitement to violence and negative consequences of fake news. “As we get closer to elections on 24 December 2021 in what is very much a contested political environment, we anticipate a rise in the use of misinformation and disinformation. It is important to ensure that the freedom of expression and opinion is protected, in accordance with international human rights norms, while combating hate speech and incitement to violence,” said ASG Zenenga added.
Participants expressed their concerns about the increasing volume of misinformation in social media platforms. They called for coordinated efforts to reduce the volume of misinformation/disinformation, raise awareness and promote ethical reporting as well as ways to increase the flow of accurate and trusted information.
The roundtable is the first in the region and will be followed by more in the near future.