Global Charter for Truth

Key issue

The world is facing an unprecedented crisis of truth. The new, highly unregulated media landscape is permitting the spread of unreliable facts, political influence into independent media, and corporate profits on individual’s data. When facing the challenges of today – including the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple political disruptions – citizens have a fundamental right to secure information and trustworthy media. We realize that truth has always been a mined ground, but in our times, the overwhelming volume of information is bringing a unique twist to its crises.

The new digital platforms of information sharing have led to rapid changes in the media landscape. Newspapers and television companies being allowed to distribute content online has led to an unprecedented abundance of information. Yet, with the traditional media undergoing those transitions and social media amassing more power to reach audiences, a lack of regulation of media, in general, has become visible. This has given ground to unreliable news being spread at a gradually larger scale, without accountability being executed. The phenomenon of each individual being able to have their own version of the truth has led to a situation, where truth has lost its meaning and power. This is fertile soil for social conflict and hatred since there is no more solid base to debate on. We, therefore, believe that there is a need for distinguishing unreliable information and facts-based news.

Furthermore, with the increase in the influence of undemocratic political initiatives, journalistic independence and safety are at risk. Ruling parties have been raising their influence on the narratives published in the press. Alongside the enforcement of specific narratives through the media, multiple cases of attacks on journalists have been carried out. These attacks range from threats, public harassment to physical attacks during political events. Therefore, journalists need further protection to retain freedom of speech and cover stories that may not align with the governmental agenda.

Additionally, with the exponential rise in usage of digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Instagram, there are no international regulations for how data should be handled. Moreover, there are no international regulations on how privacy should be respected. Free apps are not free, we pay with our data and the digital media companies are making a profit out of the reckless usage of it. The profit is both in terms of economic gain and political power. The exploitation of our personal data has been used for manoeuvring political consensus. That is why we call for the personal ownership of data. We are stakeholders in those companies, and we should be recognized as such.


One charter to combat three key issues: The UN and other international organizations need a new charter. Similarly to the charter of human rights, the charter should be agreed upon globally.

First, the charter would address the issues of unreliable news by holding the companies accountable for the information they distribute. By trademarking each publication with “news”, “research-based information” or “opinion”, the transparency of the information provided on the platforms would be improved. Technologically it is feasible since instant algorithms can research each publication in milliseconds. However, there are ethical implications to such a mechanism that would have to be considered, as it remains to be settled who should have the power to decide what is an opinion and what is not. The Charter would not be intended as a means to limit the variety of opinions circulating the public discourse, but rather to eliminate statements that contain clear falsehoods. The Charter would not grant the authority for persons or institutions to give verdict on what opinions can and cannot be widely spread.

Second, this charter would provide frameworks for the prevention of political and governmental influence on independent media. This would be done two-fold:

  1. 1)  By accrediting chosen journalists with “journalistic immunity” – a status equivalent to diplomatic immunity – journalists could be protected from any form of attacks and be given full opportunities for independent reporting. Given the fact that journalists play as crucial of a role as diplomats in sustaining the structure of a democratic society, they should be provided with an official protection and full freedom of speech.
  2. 2)  By creating a global support network of intergovernmental organizations for journalists and whistle-blowers, people would have access to unfiltered information that spells out the truth about governments’ actions.

Both actions could be initiated and conducted by international organizations that remain impartial concerning national affairs. As journalists may be targeted by their national authorities, we advise such journalistic support should not be provided just at the national level, but form an organ at a higher, non-national level.

Third, the Charter would provide an urgently needed clarification on the data ownership issue. Free apps and services are not free. Users lose much more than they can grasp. They give up control of their data. Our suggestion would be to give back the power to the users. The data is currently used by tech companies to gain profit and political power. This

has to change. The issues of data ownership and freedom of speech are strictly intertwined: if the individual is free to speak and express ideas, would it not be coherent to claim that the individual is the owner of the ideas? The newly proposed Charter would push towards more transparency and de-commodification of users by tech companies.


The expected result of the proposals is to ensure that citizens globally have safe access to true, reliable information through the media. Through systemic trademarking of the media publications, readers would be pushed to approach the content critically, which could thus initiate a safer and more rational usage of media and would provide citizens with key information to make suitable decisions as part of the civic society. Moreover, the support next for journalists and the journalistic immunity would lead to more accurate reporting since the journalist would not need to fear repercussions from the governments. The data ownership would give users more power over their privacy and have more control over what their data is used for.