Countering disinformation

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Speech at the EP Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation

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Today vaccines are the answer to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which had negatively affected social and economic life across the globe.

The Council today adopted conclusions which call for further enhanced responses at EU level to counter hybrid threats, including disinformation, and strengthening resilience. The Council notes that new technologies and crises, such as the ongoing pandemic, offer opportunities for hostile actors to expand their interference activities. These pose an additional challenge for the member states and the EU institutions, besides the crisis itself.

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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.

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