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.
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.
As outlined in the earlier reports, disinformation, myths and misinformation continue to proliferate around the world, with potentially harmful consequences for public security, health and effective crisis communications. In this context, it is important to distinguish the very different forms of mis- and disinformation, as well as other forms of information manipulation.