Sunday, March 29, 2020
banner
Home /  Front  /  Marri calls for global declaration to protect social media activists

Marri calls for global declaration to protect social media activists

Marri calls for global declaration to protect social media activists

Ashraf Siddiqui
Doha
The International Conference on ‘Social Media: Challenges and Ways to Promote Freedoms and Protect Activists’ kicked off in Doha Sunday.
In his welcoming speech, National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) Chairman Dr Ali bin Smaikh al Marri said, “This conference provides a global platform that enables the opening of a responsible and constructive dialogue between social media management companies, human rights organisations, media unions, and international organisations to optimise the use of social media networks and to provide guarantees and protection for activists.”
“The restrictions on freedom of expression and opinion cannot go beyond the limits permitted by the international and regional human rights conventions, and the United Nations Human Rights Committee interpretations,” he said, warning that “restricting freedoms can neither bring stability nor achieve peace, and that to achieve prosperity, development and democracy, freedoms of speech, expression, criticism and creativity must be realised.”
Dr Marri called for a global declaration to protect social media activists and that the issue of expanding civil space and protecting activists must be taken into account, when new human rights conventions are being developed or adopted.
He pointed out that it is necessary to pay more international attention to these issues, by making them main topics in the global dialogues and international organisations’ agendas, such as those of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the European Parliament’s Committee on Human Rights.
The NHRC chief also called on the Global Alliance of National Institutions to pay attention to the issue of expanding the civil space and protecting activists within the strategy and work programmes of the alliance.
Dr Marri said the conference is extremely important and vital as it aims to discuss the opportunities created by social media to promote and protect human rights and explore repeated forms of interference in the use of these means.
He said social media platforms have altered perceptions regarding cultural, social, political and media communications in the world, and opened up incredible possibilities for communications.
“However, we should not be overwhelmed about the scale and rapid pace of digital development. We need to be aware of a number of its risks,” Dr Marri said.
. The development of social media networks has been accompanied by a range of legal issues due to the inability of a number of its users to balance freedom of expression with digital security requirements, which has often led to spreading of rumours, incitement to violence, incitement to hatred, racism, extremism, insult, slander, abuse of freedoms and dignity, and ill-treatment of the most vulnerable groups such as children and women.”
He urged The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions to devote attention to the issue of “expanding the civic space and protecting activists” in it’s strategy and action programmes.
Carlos Negret Mosquera, President of Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), said social media has greatly expanded civic space and is an essential tool for activism and reporting.
He said social media played a critical role in opening paths for groups previously deprived of voice to join public debates and gain visibility. However, on other hand, new concerns have also emerged like promotion of terrorist or criminal activities, disinformation, incitement to violence, discrimination.
He said countries have attempted to regulate the use of digital technologies and social media in ways that may lead to violations of the rights to privacy and freedom of expression.
GANHRI, established in 1993 as international association of human rights institutions worldwide, provides leadership in the protection and promotion of human rights, President Mosquera said that it is responsibility o the states to respect, protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedom. He calls on the states to ratify and implement all human right treaty and apply them on online and offline.