Committee News is a daily publication highlighting the work of Parliament’s select committees. These are small groups of MPs that examine Parliamentary business in detail. The home page includes links to past and current business of each committee, as well as a listing of submissions received by the Committee and advice provided.
On 23 March, the European Union established a 33-member-strong “Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation II” to screen EU legislation for loopholes that could be exploited by third countries for malicious purposes. The new committee is expected to start work in a few weeks and will have twelve months to compile its recommendations.
In Ukraine, the Russian Federation is waging a campaign to deflect attention from its military assault on the country’s people by spreading fake news and disinformation. Its efforts have resulted in a loss of confidence and trust in the United Nations as a forum for peace and international understanding, he said.
He urged the Organization to ensure its news portal and social media platforms are free from fabricated, false or misleading content. He commended campaigns by the Department of Global Communications to tackle misinformation, hate speech and xenophobia, while stressing that all breaking news stories should be accurate, impartial and non-partisan. The Organization should also take steps to make its news service and website more accessible to people from all walks of life, he added.
The Russian Federation’s aggressive use of information to subvert Ukraine and the Organization’s mission has been a long-standing strategy that has destroyed all forms of independent journalism, he warned. Moreover, it has been used to promote war propaganda, spread incitement for violence and to support the killing of Ukrainian civilians. He urged the Committee to look into this aspect of Moscow’s aggression in its report and honour the work of various journalists who have become victims of the aggression, including those from his country, Poland and Lithuania.
Despite its many successes, the Russian Federation has remained a country with one of the world’s lowest press freedom ratings and has failed to halt the violence in Eastern Ukraine, he said. He cited a recent tweet by former President Medvedev urging Ukraine to “disappear” and stressed that Russia’s “fake news” laws have driven many journalists out of the country.
It is also time to address the Russian Federation’s abuse of its information space, especially in the context of the Organization, he noted. The country’s media and political leaders are promoting disinformation campaigns, including by presenting fictitious events and denying or exaggerating them, to deceive the public.
He called for a multilateral effort to draft a global code of conduct that aims at promoting integrity in public information. He also urged the Department to mainstream multilingualism in its news coverage and to ensure equal use of the Organization’s six official languages across its documents and websites.
The committee’s findings have been gleaned from more than 1,000 witness interviews, extensive call records obtained through subpoenas to phone companies and text messages and emails that were voluntarily provided. The panel’s evidence largely grew out of court filings in the Eastman case. It also accumulated extensive records from the White House and the Trump campaign’s office as well as calls from Republicans in state and local governments who helped thwart the peaceful transfer of power.