San Marino

10 May 2019

Secretary-General's message to High-Level Conference on "The Danger of Disinformation - Countering Fake News and Safeguarding Health in the Post-Truth Era”

I thank the Government of San Marino for organizing this important conference.
Technology has transformed the ways in which we access and share information, including scientific and medical knowledge. New platforms are enabling scientists, policy-makers, journalists, international organizations, the private sector, NGOs and the general public to better engage and collaborate to advance the global health agenda.
However, new technologies are sometimes used to mislead public opinion.  The spread of false information poses a threat to people’s lives, health security and to public health systems across the world. Misinformation about vaccinations, for instance, has flourished in recent years, including on social media, resulting in a rise in preventable diseases. The dissemination of inaccurate information during disease outbreaks, such as recent Ebola epidemics, also makes it harder to respond effectively to complex health crises.
Only through a multi-stakeholder approach encompassing the fields of media and health can we counter disinformation and safeguard health for all. This conference is well-placed to contribute, and I offer my best wishes for a productive gathering.