Drowning in disinformation

How homegrown state-sponsored disinformation threatens EU democracy

Disinformation can potentially reach a vast audience, largely due to social networks’ recommendation algorithms. Discussions on disinformation in the EU often focus on external state actors such as Russia and China, or on conspiracy theorists and hate groups. Domestic sources of disinformation such as political parties and national governments, however, are often overlooked. Increasingly centralised state-media empires, threaten European media pluralism, as do attacks against independent media. A resilient democracy needs a free flow of information and multiple competing narratives, and therefore it is imperative to address trends contrary to this principle.

With a mosaic of insights from civil society actors in different EU Member States we will shed light on various facets of the phenomenon of state-sponsored disinformation emanating from within the EU itself. Our goal is to encourage debate and offer concrete ideas about addressing the problem, particularly considering the updated EU Code of Practice on Disinformation and the Digital Services Act. Disinformation has the power to promote negative narratives about certain groups and civil society in general. It discredits the work of NGOs and academia, who are frequently targets for online attacks and campaigns that spread false information.

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