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Russia proposes global mechanism against disinformation

The file photo shows microphones of different media outlets installed before a press conference.
A senior Russian official has suggested that the world of media and information would need a mechanism for monitoring disinformation.
“I think that a mechanism of protection against hoax information must be created,” Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday while addressing a major economic forum in the city of Saint Petersburg.
The official said Russia was trying to kick off a debate on the need for the creation of a global authority to counter false information disseminated in the media.
"We are trying to somehow spur a discussion regarding the creation of a certain global mechanism, an instrument that would counteract the spread of false information," Zakharova said, adding that the United States blocked one such discussion at the United Nations General Assembly’s information committee in April.
She said the objective would not be realized solely through efforts by governments and state-run organizations and that all professional journalists, including news agencies with global outreach from around the world, should take part in the mission.
The idea for the establishment of a global media watchdog has faced opposition from some governments and experts who say that a state-run mechanism would lack the required impartiality to mark and distinguish hoax from truth. They say information agencies and other media outlets should not come under government control.
Russia, however, has been critical of the way some news agencies have covered major global developments, including the war in Syria, where Russia is militarily involved and supports the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Moscow insists that certain media outlets have, since the start of Syria war in 2011, used a blame-game tactic against the government, relying on false information they receive from the battlefield. Russia says a recent chemical weapons attack in northwestern Syria, which was blamed on government forces, was an example of how Western media use disinformation to pile pressure on the Syrian government.

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