Letter to the EU special committee on foreign interference in all democratic processes in the European Union, including disinformation

Dear Sir, Madam,

We are Xnet[1], a specialist European organization working on democratic innovation and anti-corruption in the digital age since 2008. We are writing to you because you are members of the special committee on foreign interference in all democratic processes in the European Union, including disinformation, set up in June 2020[2].

We want to draw attention to some important issues found in previous EU institutions work and in the special committees’ mandates. If these were to be considered and resolved it would increase protection against disinformation.

Research led by Xnet[3] has demonstrated that public and legislative policies to fight disinformation tend to blame the external enemy and not attack the internal problem. This involves recognizing that the countries’ own internal institutions, their political parties and their “clients” networks are often the main producers of disinformation. Naturally, we do not deny external interferences. To recognize these and not the rest of the reality that accompanies them would be to divert attention away from the solution to the problem.

We ask that your committee does not make this mistake that implies a devaluation of European democracies and is a serious threat to civil liberties and democratic access to the Internet.
Our research clearly indicates that to really solve the problem of disinformation it is detrimental to segregate it and only consider the Internet and social media. The most disruptive sources of disinformation are institutional; such as political parties and the media.

It is important that we respect the fundamental right to freedom of expression and information, not only because they are rights, but because they are the backbone of any state that would claim to be democratic. They are not the source of the problem of disinformation and fake news, if anything they are the solution.

For more information on Xnet’s legislative proposal on disinformation, visit:

Yours faithfully,
Simona Levi on behalf of Xnet

[1] https://xnet-x.net/
[2] https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2020-0161_EN.html
[3] https://xnet-x.net/informe-fake-news-desinformacion/