Building Trust Crucial amid Rapidly Spread Conspiracy Theories, Lies, Pseudoscience, Secretary-General Says in Message for Global Media and Information Literacy Week

Following is the text of UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ video message for the Global Media and Information Literacy Week, in Abuja today:

Trust is the bedrock of every society.  It connects people to their leaders.  It builds faith in institutions.  And it brings people together.  When trust is chipped away, societies crumble.  Polarization pulls people apart.  And the fuse of violence is easily lit.

The theme of this year’s Global Media and Information Literacy Week is all about building trust in the face of a growing “infodemic”.  Mis- and disinformation.  Pseudoscience.  Conspiracy theories.  And outright lies.

At the peak of COVID-19, misinformation caused suffering and even death.  That’s why we launched the “Verified” initiative to reach millions worldwide with facts and science about the virus.  And it’s why I’ve called for a global code of conduct that promotes integrity in public information and improves media and information literacy.  So people can make choices based on fact — not fiction.

The Abuja Declaration that will emerge this week is an essential step in this journey.  I call on Member States to develop media and information literacy policies that put science, knowledge and facts first.  Let’s rebuild the trust that our societies need, and that our collective future requires.

For information media. Not an official record.