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European Council Makes Countering “Disinformation and Hate Speech” Part of Its Strategic Agenda

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The EU Council has managed to nestle fighting “disinformation and hate speech” between such issues as the Middle East, Ukraine, and migration – not to mention while at the same time appointing a new set of “apparatchiks,” in the wake of the European Parliament elections.

This proceeds from the Council’s 2024-2029 strategic agenda, adopted on June 27. This document represents a “five-year plan” to guide the bloc’s policy and goals.

Under the heading, “A free and democratic Europe,” the document addresses different ways in which “European values” will be upheld going forward. The Council’s conclusions state that in order to strengthen the EU’s “democratic resilience,” what it decides is disinformation and hate speech will have to be countered.

These categories of speech are infamously arbitrarily defined, even in legislation, and habitually used as a tool of censorship – but the conclusions count combating them among the strategic goal of fending off foreign interference and destabilization.

In other words, those individuals or organizations that are found to be “guilty” of hate speech or disinformation might face the grim possibility of being treated as, essentially, a threat to the EU’s security.

Another promise the document makes in the same breath is that tech giants will be made to “take their responsibility for safeguarding democratic dialogue online.”

Does this mean there will be more or less censorship in the EU over the next five years? The Brussels bureaucrats are at this point so practiced at churning out platitudes that, theoretically, this statement could be interpreted either way.

However, in conjunction with the “misinformation” etc., talk, it is fairly clear which course the EU intends to keep when it comes to online freedom of expression.

AI is not explicitly mentioned as a threat (either to the EU or by the EU, as the technology that can be used to ramp up censorship, aka, “combat misinformation”).

However, you name it, the EU supposedly has it: under the part of the conclusions addressing competitiveness, increasing capacities related to AI sits right there with growing defense, space, quantum technologies, semiconductors, health, biotechnologies capabilities – not to mention “net-zero technologies, mobility, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and advanced materials.”

It’s a pretty comprehensive bridge the EU appears to be trying to sell to its member-states and their citizens.

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