Skip to main content

On the occasion of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), APC is joining Irene Khan, the UN Special Rapporteur (SR) on freedom of opinion and expression, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Access Now, Fundación Multitudes, and the United Nations Population Fund in organising a side event entitled “The gendered dimensions of disinformation”.

The event will take place on 13 October 2023 from 13:30 to 14:45 EST at UN Headquarters in New York (Room 6), both in person and online, and participation in either modality is possible with registration.

During this side event, Irene Khan will present her new report, “Gendered disinformation and its implications for the right to freedom of expression”, taking a deep dive into the gender dimensions of disinformation online such as the nature of attacks and their impacts on women and gender nonconforming people. States, researchers and practitioners will react to recommendations and discuss the actions needed to address gendered disinformation from a multistakeholder point of view.

The new report identifies significant knowledge and policy gaps that should be addressed with regard to gendered disinformation and its implications for the right to freedom of expression. It examines how digital technology is a “double-edged sword, amplifying opportunities for expression, participation and the sharing of information in ways unimaginable in the past but also multiplying online risks and threats.” Acknowledging that gendered disinformation has been a longstanding issue, there is growing concern about its harmful impacts, particularly as it is still not clearly defined nor are there established frameworks for how it can be addressed.

“The weaponisation of disinformation against women in public spaces has long been pointed out as a form of gender-based violence online,” according to APC’s project on this issue, Placing the gendered in disinformation. “It is important, however, to recognise it as a specific phenomenon and a freedom of expression issue as well as threat to their rights to life, health and to be free from violence.”

To date, APC has engaged in numerous policy-related and public-facing actions to draw attention to the fact that increasingly, disinformation campaigns particularly target women and gender-diverse individuals, marginalised groups, and human rights and environmental activists.

APC continues to engage with its network in numerous campaigns and joint undertakings to build on this work. “Gendered disinformation is not a new phenomenon,” APC notes, “but, fuelled by new technologies and social media, it has gained traction, threatening, intimidating, harming and silencing women and gender non-conforming people while reinforcing prejudices, biases and structural and systemic barriers that stand in the way of gender equality and gender justice.”

In addition to the presentation of the report, the UNGA side event will include a number of voices from the frontline, including the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the United Nations Population Fund, responding to question from Access Now. There will be time allocated to questions and comments from the audience. The SR will be responding to the discussions raised before APC delivers closing remarks.

APC and partners invite participants to join the side event on 13 October from 13:30 to 14:45 EST at UN Headquarters in New York by participating remotely or in person. Registration for the event is necessary for either modality, and those who are interested in joining must register online.

Further reading: