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The European Parliament adopted a resolution on countering propaganda by Russia and the Islamic State terrorist group. They are not going to answer in the EU with counter-propaganda, but with education and support for media freedom. For the adoption of the document at a meeting in Strasbourg on Wednesday, November 23, 394 deputies voted, 179 parliamentarians voted against, 208 abstained.
The document states that the Russian authorities are propaganda against the European Union and the Eastern Partnership countries (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine). “The Russian government uses a wide range of tools, in particular analytical centers and funds (for example, Russkiy Mir), special government agencies (for example Rossotrudnichestvo), multilingual television companies (for example RT), pseudo-news agencies and multimedia services (for example Sputnik), international social and religious groups, social networks and Internet trolls in order to challenge democratic values, split Europe, enlist support in the domestic arena and create East of the partnership “The EU is an impression of the incompetence of their state structures,” the text of the resolution says.
European Commission called to support
According to the text of the decree, the European Parliament calls on the European Commission and EU member states to increase funding for the “democratic instruments of the EU”, supporting media freedom in the countries of the Eastern Partnership and Russia. In particular, the European Parliament requires the allocation of additional funds for these purposes to the European Foundation for Democracy, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the Monitoring of Media Freedom of the Eastern Partnership Countries (EaP Media Freedom Watch) and several others.
The resolution contains a requirement to provide additional staff and a budget to the Strategic Communications Task Force, which has been preparing digests since 2015 to expose misinformation about the European Union in Russian-language media. Now the group includes less than ten people and does not have its own budget. The European Parliament called for the transformation of the Task Force into a full-fledged department within the European External Relations Service and the creation of a website based on the Twitter account @EUvsDisInfo, where users will be able to “familiarize themselves with a set of disinformation recognition tools, with an explanation of how it works.” In connection with IS propaganda, the resolution called the recruitment by terrorists of supporters in the EU countries as the main threat. To prevent the radicalization of young people, it is proposed to support initiatives to spread the ideas of moderate Islam, expose the ideology of IS and human rights violations by jihadists. The European Parliament calls on EU countries to interact with social media leaders to prevent the spread of Islamic propaganda through them.
Huylo reacted to the resolution
Russian President Vladimir Putin on the same day commented on the adoption of the resolution, calling this fact “a completely obvious degradation in the political sense of the word of ideas about democracy in Western society.”
At the same time, he expressed the hope that there would be “no real restrictions” on the work of the media listed in the document.