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EU’s Vera Jourová Brags About “Pre-Bunking” and Using Law Enforcement To Target “Conspiracy Theories”

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Pre-bunking information, pre-crime, etc. etc. – it all could easily spell out post-democracy, observers critical of the trends keep saying.

None of their arguments, however, seem to be reaching or affecting top EU bureaucrats, Věra Jourová – vice president of the European Commission for none other than “values and transparency” – being one of them.

Vera’s in Davos this week – where else – and has been telling a World Economic Forum (WEF) panel about things like deploying law enforcement to deal with “conspiracy theories,” pre-bunking information considered as disinformation, censorship of that, but also of hate speech” – and then, to top it off, about her alleged love of “freedom of speech.”

The moderator cited WEF’s own “global risk report” for this year which allegedly found that “disinformation is actually the top risk which people cited for the next couple of years” – to ask Jourova about the EU strategy in this respect.

She quickly launched into branding “this information” – i.e., disinformation as a “security threat” and listed a number of things the EU is doing to mitigate it: strengthen “strong professional media,” and, “work with (online) platforms.”

That, Jourová quickly explained, means mainly “fact-checking.” And, she added, “We have all the big tech under the commitment of the Code of Practice against this information.”

And then she arrived at “pre-bunking.” According to Jourova, it means forcing the raising of awareness, and at the same time, “lowering of the absorption capacity in the society to believe the lies.”

Very interesting wording, especially going from the usual, “lowering absorption” to, lowering the capacity for it. “Pre-bunking” is usually defined as a preemptive measure (Vera used the word, predictive), so as to discredit an account or information, and “refute” information even before it gets disseminated.

A fairly convoluted censorship game here, and the EU bureaucrat had more good news for the WEF attendees: the bloc, she assured them, is taking care (by means of censorship) of “hate speech and disinformation.” Then, as if to also reassure everyone hypocrisy is alive and well in the EU, she talked about supporting freedom of speech.

Jourová, who is Czech, referred to “living half her life in an authoritarian regime” (a reference to the Cold War). Judging by the policies she is promoting, she is sadly determined to spend the rest of it the same way.

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