One-sided fact-checking on EUvsDisinfo website

One-sided fact-checking on EUvsDisinfo website

The International Fact-Checking Network’s code of principles provides that an applicant may ‘not unduly concentrate its fact-checking on any one side’.

On 07 September 2020, German Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Patrick Breyer of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, filed a written parliamentary question to the Vice-President of the Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. MEP Breyer asked “why does the EUvsDisinfo website concentrate only on ‘pro-Kremlin disinformation’ and not disinformation from any source?” and “does the Commission consider the name ‘EUvsDisinfo’ to be appropriate for a website concentrating only on ‘pro-Kremlin disinformation’?”

On 25 November, High Representative and Vice-President Borrell formally responded on behalf of the European Commission. In his answer, he stated that “the EU’s approach to addressing disinformation is outlined in the action plan against disinformation (2018) which builds on four pillars”. He further explained that “EU actions to address disinformation focus on countering its impact, and not any particular source” and “it is guided by respect for fundamental rights and the EU’s common democratic values”. He also added that “this is further elaborated in the Joint Communication ‘Tackling COVID-19 disinformation — Getting the facts right’”.

High Representative and Vice-President Borrell reported that “within this framework, EUvsDisinfo is an awareness-raising campaign that documents, catalogues and analyses pro-Kremlin disinformation campaigns” and that “it is managed by the European External Action Service (East Stratcom Task Force) with an explicit mandate from the European Council (2015) to challenge Russia’s disinformation campaigns”.

He expressed that “analysis and information presented on the are based on open sources” and added that “the results of the work and a library of close to 10 000 disinformation cases are publicly available for all EU citizens”.

In closing, High Representative and Vice-President Borrell declared that “the EUvsDisinfo campaign also serves as a tool to raise awareness about the negative impact of disinformation across media landscapes and as a platform to discuss emerging threats and manipulative behaviour, conducted both on/offline by state and non-state actors” and “information environment assessment reports covering COVID-19 related infodemic were presented on EUvsDisinfo”. He also added that “EUvsDisinfo gives readers advice on tools and skills to respond to disinformation at the individual or collective level”.

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