EU acts against COVID-19 desinvormation

European Commission and the High Representative Josep Borrell are evaluating their measures to combat disinformation around the coronavirus pandemic and propose a way forward in a joint communication. It analyzes the immediate reaction and proposes concrete actions, the execution of which can start quickly.

“In these times of coronavirus, disinformation can kill. We have a duty to protect our citizens by raising awareness of the existence of false information and to point the finger at the actors responsible for such practices. In today’s technology-based world where warriors wield the keyboard rather than the sword and where targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns are a recognized weapon used by state and non-state actors, the Union European is increasing its activities and its capacities to fight against these practices” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said.

Vera Jourová, Vice President of Values and Transparency, said: “There have been waves of disinformation in Europe since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. They come both from the territory of the EU and from outside. To combat disinformation, we need to mobilize all relevant actors, from online platforms to public authorities, and support fact checkers and independent media. Online platforms have taken positive steps during the pandemic, but need to step up their efforts. Our actions are deeply rooted in fundamental rights, in particular freedom of expression and information. The coronavirus pandemic has been accompanied by a strong wave of false or misleading information, including attempts by foreign actors to influence citizens and debates in the EU. The crisis is testing how the EU and its democratic societies are taking up the challenge of disinformation. The following aspects are crucial for a stronger and more resilient Union: understanding the phenomenon, communicating, cooperating, ensuring transparency, guaranteeing freedom of expression and a pluralist democratic debate and empowering citizens. The actions proposed today will feed future EU work on disinformation, in particular the Action Plan for European Democracy and legislation on digital services. The press release is available here as well as a related fact sheet and the EUvsDisinfo website”.

 

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