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Dutch Media Take EU Disinfo Watchdog to Court

by Oui Fri Mar 9th, 2018 at 04:08:30 PM EST

Dutch politicians want EU anti-fake news watchdog scrapped

The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, wants to get rid of the European Commission's task force against spreading fake news, the so-called EUvsDisinfo. This follows the task force naming a number of Dutch news services as spreaders of fake news, Het Parool reports.

    EUvsDisinfo "misses its target" and "meddles with the free press in the Netherlands."

The Dutch news services involved are NPO Radio 1, the Gelderlander, GeenStijl and The Post Online. According to the task force, pro-Russian propaganda gained the upper hand in a few reports from these organizations.

The VVD and SP call on the government to advocate disbanding this task force in Brussels. The PVV, GroenLinks and SGP also want the office scrapped.

More below the fold ...

Minister under pressure over EU fake news debunkers, MPs call for abolition

A majority of Dutch MPs want home affairs minister Kasja Ollongren to put pressure on Brussels to disband its fake news debunking service EU vs Disinfo.

A parliamentary motion, drawn up by the ruling VVD and the Socialists, says the service is missing its target and interfering with the free Dutch press. The anti-EU PVV, GroenLinks and fundamentalist Protestant SGP also support the plan, which will be voted on in parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

EU vs Disinfo is currently the subject of a court case involving three Dutch publishing companies after they were branded spreaders of fake news.

Shock blog GeenStijl, populist website The Post Online and De Persgroep want the Commission's anti-disinformation task force to rectify claims that they spread fake news, or face a fine of €20,000 a day.

EU vs Disinfo is part of the EU's external action service East Stratcom Task Force, which falls under the responsibility of foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and was set up to challenge Russia's ongoing disinformation campaigns in March 2015.

Removal of three cases further to complaints by Dutch media | EUvsDisInfo |

8 March 2018 | News and analysis, Top Story

Following a detailed review of certain articles in the Dutch media, the East Stratcom Task Force has taken the measures set out below.

An article published on the website of De Gelderlander was wrongly included in the list of disinformation cases on this website. The article has been removed from the EU vs Disinfo Database. This followed from a complaint by De Persgroep Nederland regarding this article.

Two other Dutch articles that were wrongly included in the EU vs Disinfo Database were removed from this database earlier, following a complaint by GS Media regarding an article published on the website of GeenStijl, and following a complaint by The Post Online and Mr Christiaan Aalberts, a freelance journalist, regarding an article published on the website of The Post Online.

We continuously endeavour to ensure the accuracy of the EU vs Disinfo Database. With this in mind, we are currently taking steps to further improve our internal procedures. We welcome feedback and an online form is available to report any mistakes.

Questions and Answers about the East StratCom Task Force

Why was the East StratCom Task Force created?

The Task Force was set up to address Russia's ongoing disinformation campaigns. In March 2015, the European Council tasked the High Representative in cooperation with EU institutions and Member States to submit an action plan on strategic communication.  

What are the EU's objectives concerning strategic communications in its Eastern neighbourhood?

The Action Plan on Strategic Communication, presented in June 2015, has three main objectives:

  • Effective communication and promotion of EU policies towards the Eastern Neighbourhood
  • Strengthening the overall media environment in the Eastern Neighbourhood and in EU Member States, including support for media freedom and strengthening independent media
  • Improved EU capacity to forecast, address and respond to disinformation activities by external actors

What does the East StratCom Task Force do?

The Task Force develops communication products and campaigns focused on better explaining EU policies in the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine). It works closely with the EU institutions and with EU Delegations in the Eastern Partnership countries.

The Task Force supports wider EU efforts aimed at strengthening the media environment in the Eastern Partnership region, in close collaboration with other EU actors.

The Task Force reports on and analyses disinformation trends, explains and corrects disinformation narratives, and raises awareness of disinformation.

Guide to Kremlin's disinformation & influence operations in Europe | European Values - Kremlin Watch Report - Sept. 2017 |

One of the many "DisInfo" watchdogs created by right-wing groups to agitate. Agents of provoking a state of war - Cold War 2.0 in a digital age of propaganda and misinformation. The RFE-RL wasn't sufficient in a modern age, so the tech corporations of Silicon Valley are helping the corrupt politicians in Washington DC.

In the past months I have written about a number of these Western propaganda sites which appears more to censor free speech on articles critical of the West. Trying to keep some balance in news analysis ... tough times, even on "progressive" blogs.

From my earlier diary - During Yeltsin Era, UK and US Stripped Assets Off Russia

J'Accuse Rupert Murdoch On Stalinism and Sheeple - His WSJ
Tackling propaganda: "It's a continuation of methods used during the Cold War" | EU Observer | my diary on PropOrNot right-wing conspiracy
Lunacy of US Politics and International Law

    So guys, I'm just about the lone blogger left in the International list after participating 12.5 years @Booman Tribune. It used to be quite different!

    I have the advantage of seeing the daily improvements of European society, getting well established in the 21th Century with all of its modern day challenges. I follow the press and media across a dozen countries, follow panel disussions and witness first hand the events in Europe. I do watch especially the Middle East, Gulf nations and South Asia.

    In my perception, I haven't changed in my ideals and position to be a liberal, progressive force. After 9/11 I have seen disturbing developments in a surrounding world. Instead of growing towards global awareness and unity, a separation has and is taking place made worse by conservative politics in America, Europe and the Middle East.

More recent my diary here @EuroTrib ...

G W F and McCarthyism In A Digital Age - Part 2

Dutch minister says Russia is manipulating public opinion | Irish Times - Nov. 15, 2017 |

The new Dutch government has accused Russia of attempting to influence public opinion in the Netherlands by spreading fake news, and says it plans to open talks with social-media companies about how to counter "clandestine political influence".

The claim comes in a written briefing to MPs from home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren, who says the country is being "monitored" by Russia's security services who are constantly in search of opportunities to undermine it in ways that are "easy, anonymous, fast and cheap".

The minister - who is also deputy prime minister in the new Liberal-Christian Democrat-D66-Christian Union coalition, which took office last month - indicated, too, that Russia was not the only country involved in such destabilising practices.

"We know what Russia is up to, but we should not assume that Russia is the only one," she told parliament in the three-page briefing. However, she gave no indication as to who the other states might be.

Ms Ollongren's briefing was strikingly similar to comments by British prime minister Theresa May, when she accused Russia of meddling in elections, planting fake stories in the media and attempting to "weaponise information" in order to sow discord in the West.

The Spanish government also warned the EU's Foreign Affairs Council about what it says is Russian interference in the bitter debate about Catalan independence, which has plunged the country into its worst political crisis since the return of democracy in the 1970s.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Fri Mar 9th, 2018 at 04:23:45 PM EST
Minister under pressure over EU fake news debunkers, MPs call for abolition
"VVD and the Socialists, says the service is missing its target and interfering with the free Dutch press."

Of course, I laughed aloud --strange bedfellows -- then sobered up, glancing at the calendar. It appears their role now is to act out sentiments of civic curiosity for the people since hardly any is expected from the people. Very classical Greek drama.

That pro forma, surveillance "referendum" is scheduled for early May, right?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Mar 9th, 2018 at 04:53:34 PM EST
Flexing sovereignty in regard to EU commissions is also an interesting angle. I've been monitoring euractiv PR for Federica Mogherini "digital sector" endorsements since last spring when it was most energetic.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Mar 9th, 2018 at 05:03:27 PM EST

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