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COVID-19 Coronavirus: Borrell (EU), “disinformation can kill. We have a duty to protect our citizens”

Josep Borrell Fontelles (photo SIR/European Commission)

“Disinformation in times of the coronavirus can kill. We have a duty to protect our citizens by making them aware of false information, and expose the actors responsible for engaging in such practices”. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, said this as he presented the initiatives launched so far to fight disinformation around the coronavirus pandemic, while also drawing attention to other activities that need to be undertaken. “In today’s technology-driven world, where warriors wield keyboards rather than swords and targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns are a recognised weapon of state and non-state actors, the European Union is increasing its activities and capacities in this fight”. The coronavirus pandemic “has been accompanied by a massive wave of false or misleading information, including attempts by foreign actors to influence EU citizens and debates”, the EU Commission explained. The communication analyses the “immediate response” and proposes “concrete action that can be quickly set in motion”. The current crisis “has become a test case showing how the EU and its democratic societies deal with the disinformation challenge”.

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