In a report published Wednesday, Brussels said the nations ran disinformation campaigns inside the EU about COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus.
“Foreign actors and certain third countries, in particular Russia and China, have engaged in targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns in the EU, its neighborhood, and globally,” the European Commission said in a statement.
The European Commissions comments underscore the blocs concerns about the prevalence of misleading news on COVID-19 and the attempts by foreign actors to influence Europe. It also marks the first time the EU has publicly named Beijing as a source of disinformation.
“Such coordination [by third country actors] reveals an intention to use false or misleading information to cause harm,” the new strategy paper read.
The blocs executive authority said in the report that the two nations sought to simultaneously enhance their own image and “undermine democratic debate” by running disinformation campaigns about the CCP virus.
The European Commissions Vice President for Values and Transparency, Vĕra Jourová, said during a news conference in Brussels Wednesday that disinformation harms both “the health of our democracies,” and “the health of our citizens.”
“It would be too dangerous not to act,” Jourová said. “It can negatively impact the economy and undermine the response of the public authorities and therefore weaken the health measures.”
“I believe if we have evidence we should not shy away from naming and shaming,” she continued.
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