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NewsRussia’s war and how to tackle propaganda: debate with Commissioner Breton

Russia’s war and how to tackle propaganda: debate with Commissioner Breton

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Today, the Internal Market Committee will discusses with Thierry Breton how to fight propaganda on online platforms and the role of the Digital Services Act.

MEPs are due to discuss the actions the Commission is taking to fight war propaganda and to adapt platforms’ policies in view of the current situation. The discussion is set to focus on urgent and effective measures to counter disinformation, including updating terms and conditions for users and recommender systems.

The debate is particularly important in light of the ongoing negotiations on the Digital Services Act (DSA), where issues such as algorithmic transparency and accountability as well as risk assessment and risk mitigation measures are key priorities for the European Parliament.

Ahead of the meeting, the Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, Anna Cavazzini (Greens/EFA, DE), said: “Putin’s war extends to the online world. Tackling Russian disinformation and propaganda needs to be an EU priority. The DSA currently being negotiated includes tools to fight disinformation by tackling the root problem – the harmful business models that big platforms use, which favour hate over facts. What is the right balance between fighting disinformation and protecting freedom of speech? Is the DSA equipped with the right tools to fight Putin’s online war? We are looking forward to discussing this”.

DSA rapporteur Christel Schaldemose (S&D, DK), who is leading Parliament’s team in the negotiations with the French Presidency of the Council, added: “From the moment Russia invaded Ukraine, social media became a part of the battlefield. While the speedy reaction from the EU and US has made it difficult for Putin to spread lies in the West, we have to ask ourselves if we have all the instruments we need to fight disinformation and propaganda on social media. The DSA offers a unique opportunity to create a safer digital future that reflects our values and puts an end to the amplification of disinformation and illegal content”.

During this week, several other committees will also discuss the impact of Russian aggression in Ukraine on their respective policy areas, including transatlantic cooperation, transport, fisheries, culture, foreign interference, children’s rights, and human rights.

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