The European Commission announced its European Democracy Action Plan to empower citizens and build more resilient democracies across the EU.
The Commission will propose legal action on political advertising that will address the sponsors of paid content and production and distribution channels, including online platforms, advertisers and political consultancies, clarifying their respective responsibilities.
The EU Commission will also recommend measures to tackle safety of journalist and present an initiative to protect them from strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs). Finally, the Commission will steer efforts to overhaul the existing Code of Practice on Disinformation, strengthening requirements for online platforms and introducing vigorous monitoring and oversight.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that “With the digital revolution under way, citizens must be able to make choices where views can be expressed freely. Facts have to be distinguished from fiction, and free media and civil society must be able to participate in an open debate, free from malign interference. Therefore the EU is taking action to make our democracies in the EU more resilient.”
From her end,Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, said that “Democracy cannot be taken for granted; it needs to be nurtured and protected. Our plan aims at protecting and promoting meaningful participation of citizens, empowering them to make their choices in the public space freely, without manipulation. We need to update the rules to harness the opportunities and challenges of the digital age. The plan proposes actions to increase protection of journalists and fight disinformation and interference, while fully protecting freedom of speech.”