TDF sends letter to UNESCO regarding its online censorship "action plan"

The Democracy Fund opposes efforts by the government to censor online content.

TORONTO: In February 2023, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) held a global conference to discuss "the ongoing crisis of online information and hate" with a call "to regulate digital platforms."

It has since unveiled an action plan to support member states in their drive to regulate social media.

In December 2023, The Democracy Fund (TDF) met with representatives of UNESCO to discuss UNESCO's policy of supporting online censorship. TDF has now particularized its concerns in a letter to UNESCO, which can be read here.

The letter articulates the practical and philosophical problems inherent in such a project and warns that empowering governments to arbitrate truth is dangerous and destructive to the democratic project.

TDF's senior litigation counsel, Mark Joseph, said: "It is the right and responsibility of free citizens - rather than government - using normal powers of human discernment, to determine truth from falsehood. Giving governments the power to do this for us - even in the case of politically disfavoured or unpalatable speech - is infantilizing. It inevitably results in a diminution in critical thinking skills and distortions of the public record."

In view of the government's tabling of the Online Harms Bill C-63, it is imperative that free speech rights are protected. TDF will continue to monitor and oppose attempts by the government to censor online content.

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About The Democracy Fund:

Founded in 2021, The Democracy Fund (TDF) is a Canadian charity dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty. TDF promotes constitutional rights through litigation and public education. TDF supports an access to justice initiative for Canadians whose civil liberties have been infringed by government lockdowns and other public policy responses to the pandemic.

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