Freedom Fights Fake : HOW TO COUNTER DISINFORMATION, 10 Strategic Demands by Ann Cathrin Riedel

Disinformation, hatred, incitement against dissenters and manipulation with false or falsified depictions have developed into a danger to freedom of expression, domination-free discourse and democratic processes in recent years with the increasing digitalisation of the political discourse.

When taking measures against disinformation, both governments and companies must ensure compatibility with these fundamental human rights. Regulation and technology design must be construed to safeguard the freedom of expression and information, as well as the freedom of the press. The obligation of governments and companies to take measures against disinformation directly derives from human rights: Disinformation threatens the work and personal rights of journalists, politicians and activists. By influencing voters, disinformation also impacts the human right to freedom of choice. Stigmatisation through disinformation involves the danger of discrimination against minorities. Especially the COVID-19 pandemic shows that disinformation about the dangers and effects of the virus impairs the human right to protection of health.

Disinformation is not a new phenomenon that has emerged with social media platforms but rather a well-known and age-old instrument of all types of warfare and authoritarian states. Even in the Digital Age, these platforms are not the only channels through which disinformation, propaganda and conspiracy narratives are spread. When tackling disinformation, it is also important to ensure that classic channels such as TV, radio and print media and their continued significant reach are not ignored. However, the greatest need for regulation currently exists in the online sector, where new services and offers have been taking effect for several years. Driven by economic interests, disinformation have been underestimated in their dimensions, and this is why the citizens have not been adequately prepared for them. In order to deal with these developments and to make liberal democracies and open societies more resilient against them, legislators and citizens must be-come active and companies must fulfil their responsibility.

1. Words matter: Use the correct terms

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2. Images and emotions: Understanding the entire range of disinformation

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3. Creating structures for the digital education of every age group

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4. Securing the freedom of expression: Smart regulation against overblocking

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5. A modern constitutional state

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6. Focus on technology

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7. Social media councils / Binding integration of the civil society.

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8. Strengthening journalism for the 21st century!

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Diplomacy in the Digital Age: Prioritising cyber foreign policy!

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