01 Jun, 2021

Jourová: Protecting the democratic information space is crucial

On 26 May, European Commission Vice President Věra Jourová and Commissioner Thierry Breton published a Guidance on Strengthening the Code of Practice on Disinformation which forms a part of Europe’s digital strategy.

According to Vice President Jourová, the new Guidance is key as it addresses the rapid spread of disinformation and calls for a stronger commitment from the signatories to prevent disinformation while preserving the freedom of speech and democratic values.

Threats posed by disinformation online are fast evolving and we need to step up our collective action to empower citizens and protect the democratic information space,” Jourová said.

Commissioner Breton explained that the signatories should empower users to actively prevent the spread of disinformation and co-operate with fact checkers, noting:

“We need to see stronger commitments by online platforms, the entire advertising ecosystem, and networks of fact-checkers. The Digital Services Act will provide us with additional, powerful tools to tackle disinformation.”

The Guidance reinforces the existing Code of Practice on Disinformation in different areas such as:

  • Larger participation with tailored commitments
  • Better demonetising of disinformation
  • Ensuring the integrity of services
  • Improving the empowerment of users
  • Increasing the coverage of factchecking and providing increased access to data to researchers
  • Creating a more robust monitoring framework

The signatories will develop a Transparency Centre to indicate which policies they have adopted to implement the Code's commitments. The Commission will encourage new signatories to join this Code and a first draft of the revised Code should be presented this autumn.

Later this year, the Commission will also propose a new legislation on improving the transparency of political advertising.

Photo credit: Lukasz Kobus, EC Audiovisual Service 2021.

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