Responding to disinformation in times of COVID-19 and geopolitical conflict – FA 04 Sub 01 2022

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22 June 2022 | 16:20 - 17:30 CEST | SISSA Main Auditorium | Live streaming | Live transcription
Consolidated programme 2022 overview / Day 2

Proposals: #1 #56 #59 (#2) (#5)

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Session teaser

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Session description

Disinformation can undermine democracy, create division and distort public debate. We have witnessed how disinformation has polarized the debate on the pandemic and on the measures to deal with it, how the ‘infodemic’ has even been a driver of the crisis. Polarization has sometimes led to online harassment and physical aggression against journalists and politicians. In geopolitical conflicts disinformation has long been used to influence public opinion and policy making and in the war against Ukraine we have experienced that information can be weaponized. In crisis situations there is a tendency to “exceptionally” interfere with human rights and media freedom. Crises have been used as a pretext by states to put in place exceptional measures sometimes derogating from the European Convention on Human Rights. At the same time, social media are not always assuming the neutral platform role they claim to have. In this session we will discuss what should be and has been done to address these challenges by intergovernmental organizations, governments, civil society, the media and social media.

Further reading

Council of Europe CoE webpages on:

Relevant Committee of Ministers' and other instruments:

Reports and information documents:



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  • Nicola Frank, EBU

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  • Giacomo Mazzone
  • Giovanni De Gregorio
  • Narine Khachatryan
  • Rodica Ciochina
  • Luc Steinberg
  • Nicola Frank

Key Participants

  • Prof. Dr. Matthias C. Kettemann, Leibniz Institut for Media Research, Hamburg / University of Innsbruck, Austria
    Governing Information Conflicts: private and public approaches to disinformation during War (online, PowerPoint)
  • Rachel Pollack, Associate Programme Specialist, Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists, UNESCO
    The pandemic and the infodemic (on site, PowerPoint)
  • Giacomo Mazzone, Member of the EDMO Advisory Board
    Fact-checking during the war (on site, PowerPoint)
  • Eric Scherer, Chair of EBU News Committee, France Télévisions
    Public Service Media combatting disinformation in times of crisis (on site)
  • Urska Umek, Head of the Media Unit, Media and Internet Governance Division, Council of Europe
    The Human Rights perspective (online)
  • Viola von Cramon MEP, shadow rapporteur on ‘Foreign interference in all democratic processes in the EU’ (tbc)
    The European Parliament’s approach
  • Prabhat Agarwal, Head of Unit Digital Services and Platforms at DG CONNECT, European Commission (tbc)
    The Digital Services Act’s obligation for trusted flaggers

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