The EESC threw its support behind the action plan on disinformation presented by the Commission and the EU High Representative. In an opinion by Ulrich Samm and Giulia Barbucci adopted at the March plenary session, the EESC points out that disinformation can be defined as verifiably false or misleading information that is created, presented and disseminated for economic gain or to intentionally deceive the public, causing public harm and threatening democracy.
"Spreading disinformation has become a part of a hybrid war with a clear political aim," said Mr Samm. "In addition to false information, there are other threats to people's freedoms, fundamental rights and minority rights, including highly selective information, defamation, scare‑mongering and inciting hatred."
The most effective disinformation always contains a grain of truth and for this reason it is very difficult to counter effectively. "We need multiple forms of action by all stakeholders to provide good quality information and raise awareness. This is why we support the initiative for coordinated action to protect the EU, its institutions and its citizens against disinformation," emphasised Ms Barbucci. "We need to act now since the European elections of May 2019 are not far off."
Active participation by civil society organisations is key to offering a comprehensive response to disinformation. The EESC is proactively engaged in supporting joint efforts to tackle disinformation and takes action on a regular basis through its opinions and by organising hearings, local events and a number of other activities. (mp)