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Key EU lawmaker seeks to ratchet up battle against Russian propaganda

November 12, 2018

A key European Union lawmaker announced Monday a proposal to create a funded task force to tackle the scourge of Kremlin disinformation campaigns and “hostile propaganda.”

Recent years have seen Russian propaganda teams batter the EU with conspicuously biased news stories and “fake news” aimed at swaying public opinion against the political bloc.

On Monday, details of a draft report, authored by Polish lawmaker Anna Fotyga, were made public.

Ms. Fotyga, who serves as chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defense, is focused on funding an anti-propaganda task force, in addition to confronting the spread of disinformation across social media, which is described in the report as “the most common tool” for moving “hostile propaganda.”

Similarly to the U.S., which has wrestled with pushing the leading social media platforms to better combat online propaganda, the report suggests that social media companies could be regulated to “ensure their full transparency and accountability.”

But the report, which was described in detail by Radio Free Europe, also warns of the balance needed to regulate transparently and “in cooperation with the competent authorities and civil society” so that the banning of suspicious accounts would not be seen censorship.

In addition, the report urges EU member states that “continue to deny the existence of strategic propaganda to recognize it and take proactive measures in order to counteract and debunk it.”

Ms. Fotyga’s proposal also calls onEU’s foreign-policy chief, Federica Mogherini, to more closely engage in the issue.

Russian propaganda is scheduled to be addressed in the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee later this month and is on the agenda for the EU summit in Brussels next month.

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