European Union Current Affairs - 2019
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India has recently joined a major global initiative called ‘Christchurch call to action’ to combat extremism and terrorism online and make internet a safe and secure place. It was signed by a group of governments and major tech companies at a summit in Paris.
- Background: New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron recently launched an ambitious new initiative called “Christchurch Call”, which is aimed at curbing extremism online. The initiative was pushed by Ms Ardern in backdrop of extremist attacks on two mosques in New Zealand city on 15 March 2019, in which a white supremacist gunned down 51 people and broadcasted live footage on Facebook. This gave rise to growing realisation that current abuse of social media by extremists must be countered.
- Participants: A total of 18 countries including European Union (EU) supported the initiative along representatives of online giants like Facebook, Google, YouTube, Microsoft, Amazon and Twitter.
- Objective: To curb online extremism by stopping abuse of Internet by extremists. It also calls for an open, free and secure internet to foster economic growth, enhance social inclusiveness and promote connectivity.
- Argument: The dissemination of such extremist content online has adverse impacts on the human rights of victims, on collective security of individuals involved as well as people all over the world.
About Christchurch Call Agreement
- It is a non-binding set of agreements to combat spread of hate and violent content online. It was signed by a group of governments and major tech companies at a summit in Paris
- Unique: It is believed to be first document of its type like one which is signed by both major governments and private companies.
- All signatories pledge to eliminate violent, terrorist and extremist content on social media as well as other online platforms. But pledge does not contain any regulatory or enforcement measures, and it would be completely up to each individual country and company to decide on how it would honour its voluntary commitments.
- The pledge also does not include the definition of ‘violent extremist content’, and it is up to individual companies to decide on what constituted objectionable material.
- It asks member nations to adopt and enforce laws which ban objectionable material, and set guidelines on how each countries traditional media can report acts of terrorism without amplifying them.
- It asks tech companies to comply with their terms of service, and re-evaluate their algorithms which direct online users towards extremist content and at the same time commit to redirecting people looking for extremist material online.
The United States declined to join the Christchurch call to action initiative. Following are the signatories Nations:
Tags: Amazon • Christchurch Call to Action • Combat Extremism • Emmanuel Macron • European Union • Facebook • French President • Google • Jacinda Ardern • Microsoft • New Zealand's Prime Minister • Online Content • Paris Summit • Twitter • United States • YouTube
The Ministry of Commerce and Industries is arranging a mini-ministerial meeting of developing countries on May 13-14 to discuss the future of the multilateral body, World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the development agenda.
India is expected to invite close to two dozen countries for discussions on May 13-14. It is second such initiative undertaken by India since talks collapsed in Buenos Aires in December 2017. Unlike the earlier initiative, the US and the European Union will not be part of the discussions this time.
Agenda for the Discussion
- A global framework for e-commerce, an issue that is being pushed hard by the US. China is not averse to negotiations and maybe India would be willing for the discussions.
- US proposal to do away with special and differential (S&D) treatment for developing countries such as India, China, Brazil and South Africa. The special and differential treatment allows developing countries to maintain higher duties and implement agreements at a slower pace than the developed world.
- The US is arguing that the better-off developing countries are eating up the gains that should accrue to the poorer nations in the category.
- Ensure that WTO remains the key fulcrum of global trade and attempts by the US to do away with the principle of a consensus-based approach.
- Discussions around reform of the dispute settlement mechanism which the US is pushing for aggressively.
India and other countries are demanding that there was a need to ensure that S&D treatment remains as they are still home to a large number of poor and vulnerable sections.