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EPC joins EC Sounding Board in calling for more ambitious proposals to counter disinformation

In a joint press statement on 10 June, High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell and Vice-President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová announced further action to tackle disinformation, within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic including a requirement that online platforms should provide monthly reports and include more detailed data on their actions to promote authoritative content, improve users' awareness, and limit coronavirus disinformation and advertising related to it.

The tech platforms provided report monthly on fake news as part of the Commission’s voluntary code of practice on disinformation. They did so ahead of the 2019 European Parliament elections, on top of an annual assessment report last October, but have not reported monthly since.

Vice-President Jourová said at the press conference: “Disinformation waves have hit Europe during the Coronavirus pandemic. They originated from within as well as outside the EU. To fight disinformation, we need to mobilise all relevant players from online platforms to public authorities and support independent fact checkers and media. While online platforms have taken positive steps during the pandemic, they need to step up their efforts. Our actions are strongly embedded in fundamental rights, in particular freedom of expression and information.'

Commissioner Breton has engaged with this theme and in a conversation with Kevin Mayer, CEO of Tik Tok, invited Tik Tok to subscribe to the EU's voluntary code of conduct. This meeting must have had an impact, as Jourová announced that Tik Tok would be joining the ranks of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Mozilla who have signed up to the code.

In response, the Joint Statement from organisations representing broadcasters, publishers including EPC, journalists and individual academics - all members of the EC appointed Sounding Board on the Code of Practice on Disinformation online, called for more ambitious proposals in line with the European Commission’s own assessment report (VVA) and ERGA’s assessment on the Code of Practice (CoP).

You may find the Joint Statement attached in this post, as well as access through a separate window here.

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