Countering disinformation

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20/09/2020 - On September 12, I had a videoconference with my fellow foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The European Union shares many common views with this organisation. And in particular the will not to align with China or the US in the growing strategic rivalry between them. We must and will strengthen our ties.

Disinformation and misinformation proliferated around the world including in the Western Balkans as the COVID-19 pandemic started. Western Balkans’ fact-checking organisations intensified their work on exposing and countering disinformation, raising the awareness and contributing to local public debates about the problem. As of 30 July, leading fact-checking organisations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia continue their valuable work also within the third-party fact-checking program, which is a part of the Facebook’s strategy against disinformation.

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Thank you Madam President, Honourable Members,

It is really evident that the virus pandemic has been accompanied by an ‘infodemic’, by a pandemic of disinformation. We have witnessed a wave of false and misleading information, and an exponential increase in targeted influence operations by foreign actors.

The coronavirus pandemic has been accompanied by a massive wave of false and misleading information, attempts by foreign actors to influence domestic debates in the EU, breeding on the fertile ground of people’s most basic anxieties and the rapidly changing news cycle. Misleading healthcare information, dangerous hoaxes with false claims conspiracy theories and consumer fraud endanger public health.

The coronavirus pandemic has been accompanied by a massive wave of false and misleading information, attempts by foreign actors to influence domestic debates in the EU, breeding on the fertile ground of people’s most basic anxieties and the rapidly changing news cycle. Misleading healthcare information, dangerous hoaxes with false claims conspiracy theories and consumer fraud endanger public health.

Building on our strategic partnership, shared values and commitment to multilateralism, Canada and the European Union (EU) are working intensively together to address the significant consular, public health and economic challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.

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"We are facing an info-demic with dangerous impact on public health. We’ll continue to tackle disinformation, and coordinate and intensify our efforts with the Member States and with social media platforms" - Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Disinformation and misinformation around COVID-19 continue to proliferate around the world, with potentially harmful consequences for public health and effective crisis communication. In the EU and elsewhere, coordinated disinformation messaging seeks to frame vulnerable minorities as the cause of the pandemic and to fuel distrust in the ability of democratic institutions to deliver effective responses. Some state and state-backed actors seek to exploit the public health crisis to advance geopolitical interests, often by directly challenging the credibility of the European Union and its partners.

Hundreds of analyses, thousands of cases, people from more than 14 countries involved in the daily work, over 20 states and languages covered – a look back at the EUvsDisinfo work on countering disinformation

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