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Fighting disinformation

Congress must thoroughly investigate events involving fake news about Catalonia


Finally, faced with an avalanche of evidence, the government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has confirmed the bombardment of fake news launched by internet portals based in Russian and Venezuelan territory. The objective of this hostile online activity is nothing less than the erosion of the values of Spanish and European institutions. Unfortunately, this kind of action has been a reality for some time.

Passivity is not an option. There is an urgent need to adopt protective measures

In the wake of other nations, our country has been, since October 1, the objective of targeted cyber-activism. It is easy to prove. The proliferation of distorted news stories about Catalonia has experienced an increase as large as it is suspicious, as repeatedly reported by EL PAÍS. Faced with these facts, the Foreign Affairs and Defense ministries have obtained data that demonstrate Russian meddling on social media. These activities have fanned the flames of the Catalan crisis and are thus contributing to a dangerous destabilization of Europe.

We find ourselves before an uncertain new scenario in terms of international relations – one in which the internet is playing an increasingly decisive role and where confusion reigns as to the limits of where the responsibilities of governments and citizens start and end. The current rules of the game, in place for decades, have changed with the emergence of digital media.

This activity contributes to a dangerous destabilization of Europe

Passivity is not an option. There is an urgent need to adopt protective measures that, first and foremost, will prevent this type of hostile action from taking place, and, secondly, prevent new strategies in the near future. For this reason, it is particularly important that the European Union has agreed to boost economic resources to fight propaganda spread by agents working within the Kremlin’s zone of influence.

At the same time, within our own borders, and now that the existence of a campaign of fake news about Catalonia has been recognized, it is critical that Congress investigate what has happened. This is an attack that cannot simply be filed away and forgotten about.

English version by George Mills.

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