In light of inaccurate information published in some media about the “watering down” of an EU report on disinformation recently released after pressure from China, EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Peter Stano wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times:
Letter to the Editor
“I read with disappointment your article Pressured by China, E.U. Softens Report on Covid-19 Disinformation.
Let me be clear: the EU has not bowed to any alleged political pressure from outside. The referenced report on narratives and disinformation around the coronavirus, published on Friday, presents the continued use of conspiracy narratives and disinformation from official and state-backed sources from various governments, including Russia and China.
The ungrounded allegations are based on leaked internal exchanges, aimed at drawing a conclusion that is factually incorrect. It plays into the hands of those who seek to undermine our work.
The EU is the leading institution collecting, analysing and exposing disinformation on the coronavirus. We strive to inform our citizens about harmful narratives that can bear potential risks, including to their health. In our work, there are elements that remain for internal use, as we are a diplomatic service. We are, however consistently making available public assessments, as on 1 April and 19 March.
Visiting our website, you will find abundant proof that we are not afraid to speak out against foreign interference: www.euvsdisinfo.eu.”
The publications of the EEAS are categorically independent. The European External Action Service has never bowed to any alleged external political pressure.
The referenced report on narratives and disinformation around the coronavirus, published last Friday, clearly presents the continued use of conspiracy narratives and disinformation from various official and State-backed sources.
Both the timing and content of the EEAS’ assessment and reports of narratives and disinformation trends around the coronavirus pandemic are determined by the EEAS, and the EEAS alone. The EEAS Special Report is aimed at public consumption.
We have published three such public reports so far, all of them making clear reference to government and state-backed disinformation campaigns and there is strong consistency between the first two reports and the third, most recent publication in this respect.