Tackling propaganda and false news

Fake or false news are the buzz words of our time. It is on everyone’s lips and awareness has been growing that something needs to be done. However, as liberals, we are walking a thin line. Where do we draw the line between fake news, framing of news and opinions that just do not fit our worldview or our agenda? What about freedom of expression? A value that every liberal holds so dear.

As young liberals we have discussed the topic at length over the past year and also reached a conclusion: there is a need to take down fake news. The systematic spreading of fake news and propaganda, especially coming from Russia, must be addressed in order to ensure that we have well-functioning democracies in Europe. At its worst, fake news is part of modern time’s warfare.

The ease of spreading information thanks to technological developments and the growing amount of news outlets makes it only more urgent to handle and address the phenomenon

We look forward to attending the ALDE Party Congress and present our solution, as outlined in the resolution "Tackling propaganda and false news". In our resolution, we do not claim or believe we have all the solutions set and ready, but we believe we have good proposals for the first steps that urgently need to be taken.

First and foremost, we need to ensure sufficient resources are available for the initiatives already in place, such as the East Stratcom. Secondly, we urge that a taskforce is set up under the East Stratcom which will work with identifying the best ways forward to further counter disinformation.

The level of fake news and propaganda is reaching new highs and unlike past situations, it is not easy to identify who is sending it out. Thus, an expert group should be put into place with the sole purpose of making all of Europe aware of the options to tackle the issues.

And last, but not least, we believe that critical thinking and media literacy should be a part of the curriculum across educational programs in Europe

To be critical and ask questions is part of the foundation of a democracy, but in the hectic times of the digital revolution, the curriculum is not always up to date with current developments. It is no longer about questioning the content coming from traditional news outlets, but the content on social media, blogs and sponsored content.

In addition to these steps, LYMEC strongly encourages the continued support of think tanks and researchers working on the topic of countering and understanding the fake news phenomenon. It is evident that we cannot just apply the same tools used during the Cold War, but that we must continue to develop our response. We look forward to discussing the resolution further in Amsterdam and hope that the rest of the ALDE Party is as ready to tackle false news as the young liberals are!

Sissel Kvist
LYMEC President

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November 29 2017

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