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Australia Calls For Global Rules To Limit Misinformation

But Facebook’s head of global affairs Nick Clegg tells Sydney Dialogue panel it is up to governments to set rules on fake or misleading news

Laura Jayes of Sky News Australia, left, moderates a Sydney Dialogue panel comprising Nick Clegg, Facebook’s head of global affairs, S Jaishankar, India’s external affairs minister, and Marise Payne, Australia’s foreign minister. AF screengrab


A senior Australian politician called on Friday for global standards and consistent interpretation to determine online ‘misinformation’, saying time was running out to agree on rules of what is permissible.

“We should be starting yesterday,” foreign minister Marise Payne told a panel at the virtual Sydney Dialogue, an annual event hosted by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

“We do have to be very clear that the rule of law that applies offline has to apply online,” she added.

But Facebook’s head of global affairs Nick Clegg told the panel it was up to governments to set misinformation rules and criticised the long time it took for legislation to be enacted.

Clegg, a former UK deputy prime minister, said private sector companies should not have to make “agonising” decisions” about “what sort of content can stay up or be taken down”.

S Jaishankar, India’s external affairs minister, said democratic societies had to find the right balance between freedom and responsibility when regulating online information.

“Yes, on freedom and openness, but there has to be basic regulations,” he said. “A sense of equity and a sense of fairness.”


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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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