How do the main European countries legislate the control of disinformation?

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The announcement of the Government of Pedro Sánchez by which it will create a commission dependent on the Executive itself that will monitor false news (or “fake news”) has generated unease in the opposition and in journalists’ associations. Some countries in Europe have made similar decisions, but have executed them differently. This is the case of France, whose body is independent. In others there is not even legislation.

The German government has a video on its website on how to detect fake news in just three steps, but let the recipient of the news decide on its credibility. Within the grand coalition, the possibility of a “Law for the Promotion of Democracy” proposed by the Social Democratic Party has been debated, which has not finally seen the light of day. It contemplated measures to create “reliable framework conditions” for the participation of society with the aim of curbing extremism. What they did agree to was an extension of political education measures, which contains citizen training on “fake news.” Informs Rosalia Sanchez.

At the end of 2018, France approved a Law against the manipulation of information, presented, in its day, as an “anti fake news” Law that can be punished with 45,000 euros and even jail. The Law punishes three crimes, in particular: “False, overt news”, “massive and artificial dissemination of falsehoods” and “disturbing public order and the sincerity of an electoral vote.” The complainants can present their complaints before the Superior Council of Audiovisual (CSA), an independent guardianship authority, which can intervene legally very quickly, using emergency procedures. Informs Juan Pedro Quiñonero.

The UK does not have specific legislation to control fake news, and it does not have a regulatory body that monitors written content online. The closest are the Office of Communications, which forces radio and television companies to comply with certain content standards; and the cabinet’s Rapid Response Unit, whose objective is “to monitor the news that is shared to identify problems with speed, precision and integrity.” With the pandemic, Downing Street launched a unit that works together with social media companies to eliminate “fake news” from their platforms. Informs Ivannia Salazar.

In Italy, the Chamber of Deputies approved three months ago the creation of a parliamentary investigation commission against “fake news”, which will have the task of countering the massive dissemination of false information. “We want to investigate how the dissemination of false news affects the quality of our democracy and whether the web as a tool that improves transparency can also have the characteristics of limiting freedom, because the dissemination of false information weakens the freedom to create opinion,” he says. Emanuele Fiano (Democratic Party) who in 2018 presented the bill. Informs Angel G. Fuentes.

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