Statement at the 45th Annual Session of the Committee on Information

Elijah Waterman
Counselor for Public Affairs
New York, New York
May 4, 2023


Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you as well to the Department of Global Communications and the Committee on Information Secretariat for its support, and my colleagues from the Permanent Missions who have worked so diligently on this Resolution. I wish you all my congratulations.

Yesterday was World Press Freedom Day, so I’d like to begin by honoring journalists who face daily repression for reporting on human rights violations, war crimes, and abuse of power around the world. Unfortunately, there’s an American citizen journalist who’s being jailed for simply doing his job – The Wall Street Journal’s Evan Gershkovich. Journalism is not a crime. We condemn the Kremlin’s continued repression of independent voices in Russia, and its ongoing war against the truth. The charges against Evan are baseless, and we call on the Russian Federation to immediately release him.

I note that Russia deploys disinformation across different continents for varied objectives, often working through tested proxies to support Kremlin foreign policy objectives indirectly, which provides the Kremlin a level of deniability. The Russian government is at least aware of or has used the Wagner Group for example, and other Yevgeniy Prigozhin-owned entities as proxies to disperse disinformation and carry out covert, armed operations abroad, including in Mali, the Central African Republic, Libya, Syria, and in Ukraine.

On that note, I would like to thank the G77 for proposing and approving negotiated additions to this year’s Resolution that highlight the negative impact of misinformation and disinformation on peacekeeper safety and security, and the important role the Department of Global Communications should play in strengthening the safety and security of peacekeepers.

I would also like to take this opportunity to make points of clarification on language contained in the resolution. We understand abbreviated references to certain human rights violations* in this resolution to be shorthand references for the more accurate and widely accepted terms used in the applicable treaties or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and we maintain our long-standing positions on those rights. We do not read references to specific principles, such as proportionality, to imply that States have an obligation under international law to apply or act in accordance with those principles.

In closing, I want to again thank Under Secretary General Fleming and her leadership team at the Department of Global Communications for their support of the Committee and these proceedings, and to congratulate and thank you Mr. Chair for your leadership of the Committee. I also want to thank the G77 as pen-holders and all the delegations for all of your work in negotiating the adoption by consensus of this Resolution. Thank you.