At the beginning of October, European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová took part in the virtual Annual DisinfoLab Conference that gathered experts from a range of fields to discuss disinformation from a number of different angles, including the regulatory challenges, the protection of freedom of expression as well as the ‘infodemic’ caused by the pandemic.
In her intervention, Vice-President Jourová shared the EU’s plans to address disinformation and to safeguard the integrity of European democracies, including the upcoming European Democracy Action Plan.
To her, free and fair elections are at the core of EU democracy and can only be protected by fighting disinformation, developing initiatives related to media literacy and guaranteeing transparent political advertising.
“Defending our democracies is not just about securing the right to vote. It is also about the rule of law with the concept of checks and balances, independent courts, independent and pluralistic media, the protection of fundamental rights and the defence of certain standards for political debates, campaigning, and organisation of elections,” she stated.
Jourová also noted that during this exceptional time caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for resilient democracies has become more important than ever.
Earlier this year, the European Commission unveiled its strategy to tackle COVID-19 disinformation, which also included the commitment to protect citizens and their freedoms by preventing and countering attacks as well as by cooperating. Furthermore, the European Democracy Action Plan, which aims to protect European democracy from interference and manipulation and is overseen by Vice-President Jourová, will be unveiled at the end of the year.
You can watch the full intervention here or below.
#Disinfo2020 conference: Fair democratic debates, electoral campaigns and fair elections in the EU are at the core of our democracy. To protect it we need:— Věra Jourová (@VeraJourova) October 2, 2020
➡️to fight against #disinformation
➡️transparency of political advertising
➡️to develop media literacy initiatives pic.twitter.com/AwZFy6axlP
Photo credit: European Union 2019 - Source: EP/ Alexis HAULOT