TEPSA has coordinated a study for the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), authored by Carme Colomina, a Research Fellow at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB) in Spain, Héctor Sánchez Margalef, a Researcher at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB) in Spain, and Richard Youngs, a Senior Fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The study is entitled “The impact of disinformation on democratic processes and human rights in the world”.
Around the world, disinformation is spreading and becoming a more complex phenomenon based on emerging techniques of deception. Disinformation undermines human rights and many elements of good quality democracy; but counter-disinformation measures can also have a prejudicial impact on human rights and democracy. COVID-19 compounds both these dynamics and has unleashed more intense waves of disinformation, allied to human rights and democracy setbacks. Effective responses to disinformation are needed at multiple levels, including formal laws and regulations, corporate measures and civil society action. While the EU has begun to tackle disinformation in its external actions, it has scope to place greater stress on the human rights dimension of this challenge. In doing so, the EU can draw upon best practice examples from around the world that tackle disinformation through a human rights lens. This study proposes steps the EU can take to build counter-disinformation more seamlessly into its global human rights and democracy policies.