It is no surprise that in times of crisis, people are more susceptible to disinformation. As we rely increasingly on the news for trustworthy updates on a rapidly evolving situation, we can often find ourselves victim to false narratives and manipulated truths. The media’s relationship to truth has time and again been plagued with difficulties, but when urgent updates about healthcare are at stake, people are especially vulnerable. Governments have a responsibility to ensure a minimum level of transparency so that journalists can do their jobs without fear of imprisonment. Freedom of the media should not be put in lockdown.
How can we immunise ourselves against the virus of disinformation? What actions can be taken by the European Union and national governments to ensure that proper defence mechanisms are in place to protect citizens from disinformation, while at the same time safeguarding the right to freedom of expression? Do our societies have enough freedom of expression antibodies to be able to fight the virus of disinformation? What more could journalists do to help the fight against the coronavirus?
These questions, and many more, will be tackled by our distinguished speakers during the third online event of ELF’s new series – Liberties in Lockdown. This event is organised with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF).
It’s clear that COVID-19 will reshape our societies, and indeed our lives, in many ways. What will our world look like once the lockdowns have ended and the travel restrictions are lifted? Will we recognise our countries and cities; our neighbourhoods and friends? Will we recognise ourselves? For the next few weeks, each installment of the Liberties in Lockdown series will have a particular focus, looking at, among other things, the economy, digital privacy and healthcare. We hope you can join us for these important discussions.
Ramona Strugariu, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe Group
Scott Griffen, Deputy Director, International Press Institute (IPI)
Nad’a Kovalcikova, PhD, Programme Manager & ASD Fellow, GMF (Brussels)
Opening remarks by:
Daniel Kaddik, Executive Director, ELF