On September 1, 2022, the Head of the Office of the Council of Europe in Ukraine, Steen Nørlov, took part in the round table "Countering disinformation in the Times of War", organized by the Center for Countering Disinformation.
In his introductory speech, Steen Nørlov emphasized that the Council of Europe is regularly publishing studies and recommendations to advise member States and the civil society on how to ensure the protection of human rights in the Internet and online, address information disorder, enhance Internet Governance, develop collaboration with the business sector and develop resilience within society and information literacy. Like:
- The Council of Europe report "Information Disorder: Towards an Interdisciplinary Approach to Research and Policy Making",
- PACE resolution “Democracy hacked? How to respond?” No. 2326, in which PACE expressed concern over the spread of disinformation campaigns aimed at shaping public opinion, manipulation tendencies and foreign interference in election processes.
- Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)2 on the role and responsibility of Internet intermediaries.
- Recommendation CM/Rec(2020)1 on the impact of algorithmic processes on human rights and other documents.
He noted that in the context of combating disinformation, the Council of Europe applies a human rights-based approach, where primary attention is paid to the negative consequences of disinformation specifically for the exercise of human rights, in particular the right to free and fair elections, the right to freedom of expression, the right to health care, etc.
Mr. Nørlov emphasized the need to consolidate the efforts of international and national organizations, social network platforms, civil society and media in order to jointly counter disinformation in an effective manner.
The Head of the Office reminded that the adjusted priorities of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine for 2018-2022 have been adopted and the Project “Support to Safety of Journalists, Media, and of Access to Information, including communication strategy for Prosecutor General’s Office in Ukraine” is being implemented. It aims to support the Ukrainian media community in addressing current needs and consequences of the Russian aggression and war in Ukraine. In particular, the grants have been provided to the Ukrainian Public Broadcaster and local media organisations to support their capacity to work during the war time in Ukraine.
The Head of the Office assured that improvement of media legislation would contribute to strengthening the ability to respond to the negative consequences of disinformation.
“The Draft Law “On Media” has been adopted in the first reading and the Council of Europe will provide comments and recommendations which could be incorporated before the second reading to ensure better correspondence of the law with the Council of Europe and European Union standards. Also, it is important to discuss the special role of public broadcasters in the context of disinformation and propaganda, which was emphasized by PACE in Resolution 2255 (2019). There is a need to have a powerful, capable public broadcasting capable of resisting manifestations of information disorder. It is necessary to ensure that the Ukrainian Public Broadcaster has necessary resources to continue its important job of informing the citizens of Ukraine”, he concluded.
The ambassadors of Poland, Latvia, Moldova, Montenegro, representatives of the embassies of France, Germany, the USA and Canada, the National Security and Defense Council, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Center for Countering Disinformation, the NATO Strategic Communications Center and others also took part in this round table.