Spreading propaganda and disinformation using public funds

The case of Slovenia as a challenge for EU democracy
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Read our dossier "Drowning in disinformation", which explores how homegrown state-sponsored disinformation threatens EU democracy.


The proposed EU Digital Services Act (DSA) addresses the issue of disinformation on large online platforms, requiring them to offer the flagging of unlawful content, the possibility to question moderation decisions for user-generated content, and protection for users from misuse and abuse by the platforms themselves. The DSA moves away from the current mechanism of self-regulation to a model of co-regulation, where online platforms have to cooperate with public authorities and remove illegal content.

However, the DSA is not addressing a pressing issue in the field of disinformation and propaganda that involves digital advertising platforms, state funds and propaganda outlets that are run by actors connected with national ruling political parties.

This e-paper examines systemic failures in curbing the funding of hateful content as well as disinformation and misinformation with the public money of Slovenian taxpayers. At the same time, it describes the very effective yet opaque methods of circumventing the co-regulative measures proposed by the DSA, which tries to curb such practices.

Product details
Date of Publication
July 2021
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union
Number of Pages
Language of publication
Table of contents

Executive summary
1. Introduction
2. State-funded hate
3. Self-regulatory and regulatory failures
4. Harmful consequences
5. Recommendations
6. Conclusion