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Evalution of the current political and media landscape in Germany in the context of the Action Plan against Disinformation

Question écrite de Mme Christine ANDERSON - Commission européenne

Question de Mme Christine ANDERSON,

Diffusée le 6 février 2024

Subject: Evalution of the current political and media landscape in Germany in the context of the Action Plan against Disinformation

I am concerned about the polarised political situation in Germany, where state actors and state- funded media, including Correctiv1, are being selective in the news they report. The varying accounts of a meeting in Potsdam2 and the possible involvement of the German domestic intelligence service3 raise concerns. The AfD federal executive distanced itself from the allegations4, but this went unreported. State-supported demonstrations against the AfD point to possible disinformation dissemination, which is contrary to EU objectives and would possibly be viewed differently if happening in another Member State, such as Hungary.

1. How does the Commission assess the role of media and state actors in Germany in spreading potential disinformation against the AfD in the context of the ‘Action Plan against Disinformation’?

2. How does the Commission assess the importance of the possible involvement of state actors and security services in Germany in the spread of disinformation and whether this is consistent with the objectives of the action plan?

3. How does the Commission assess the impact on democratic processes and political diversity in Member States, in particular with regard to the upcoming EP elections and the role of the media and state actors in ensuring fairness and equal opportunities in the context of the action plan?

Submitted:7.2.2024

1 https://www.nius.de/analyse/2-5-mio-euro-staatliche-foerderung-so-verschleiert-correctiv-von-wem-das-geld-

wirklich-kommt/1e6e8754-0ca2-41a2-a986-96b5e15adbaf

2 https://correctiv.org/aktuelles/neue-rechte/2024/01/10/geheimplan-remigration-vertreibung-afd-rechtsextreme-

november-treffen/

3 https://www.nzz.ch/international/verfassungsschutz-weist-verwicklung-in-bericht-ueber-geheimplan-zurueck-

ld.1776407

4 https://www.afd.de/marc-jongen-wider-die-luegenkampagne-was-die-afd-mit-remigration-meint-und-was-

nicht/

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 9 juin 2024

Answer given by Vice-President Jourová on behalf of the European Commission (10 June 2024)

Safeguarding democratic values and mitigating disinformation — including foreign information manipulation and interference — is a key priority for the Commission.

Following the 2018 Joint Action Plan against Disinformation (5) and the European Democracy Action Plan of 2020 (6), the Commission has taken comprehensive steps to protect EU democracies from disinformation and to strengthen media freedom.

When it comes to the media landscape in Germany, the latest rule of law report (7) states that ‘media pluralism and freedom in Germany are ensured by strong legal and institutional safeguards, with a high degree of independence of the state media authorities and public service broadcasters’.

Furthermore, the European Media Freedom Act (8), adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in March 2024, includes a new set of rules to protect the independence of the media in the EU.

The Digital Services Act (9) and the revised EU Code of Practice on Disinformation (10) provide a comprehensive framework to mitigate the spread of disinformation on online services.

In addition, the EU East StratCom Task Force, which is part of the EU’s diplomatic service, is documenting and analysing the main disinformation threats and state actors on its website (11).

Additionally, the Commission also proposed a regulation on the transparency and targeting of political advertising and has put forward a recommendation on inclusive and resilient elections (12).

1 ∙ ⸱ https://www.nius.de/analyse/2-5-mio-euro-staatliche-foerderung-so-verschleiert-correctiv-von-wem-das-geld-wirklich-kommt/1e6e8754-0ca2-41a2-a986-

96b5e15adbaf 2 ∙ ⸱

https://correctiv.org/aktuelles/neue-rechte/2024/01/10/geheimplan-remigration-vertreibung-afd-rechtsextreme-november-treffen/ 3 ∙ ⸱ https://www.nzz.ch/international/verfassungsschutz-weist-verwicklung-in-bericht-ueber-geheimplan-zurueck-ld.1776407 4 ∙ ⸱ https://www.afd.de/marc-jongen-wider-die-luegenkampagne-was-die-afd-mit-remigration-meint-und-was-nicht/ 5 ∙ ⸱ Joint Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, Action Plan against Disinformation, JOIN/2018/36 final. 6 ∙ ⸱

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the European democracy action plan, COM/2020/790 final. 7 ∙ ⸱ 2023 Rule of Law Report, Country Chapter on the rule of law situation in Germany, SWD(2023) 805 final. 8 ∙ ⸱ Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a common framework for media services in the internal market (European Media Freedom Act) and amending Directive 2010/13/EU, COM/2022/457 final. 9 ∙ ⸱ Regulation (EU) 2022/2065 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 October 2022 on a Single Market for Digital Services and amending Directive 2000/31/EC (Digital Services Act) (OJ L 277, 27.10.2022). 10 ∙ ⸱ https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/code-practice-disinformation 11 ∙ ⸱ https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/questions-and-answers-about-east-stratcom-task-force_en 12 ∙ ⸱ https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32023H2829
























| | ) The Commission also supports concrete and practical exchanges of best practices on fighting disinformation and protecting the information environment around elections, including within the framework of the European Cooperation Network on elections.

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