Digitization and the defense of democracy

Lunch debate


European democracies face a series of challenges such as election interference, threats to media freedom and the use of disinformation campaigns.

Commission President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen wants “Europe to strive for more in nurturing, protecting and strengthening our democracy”. She has announced a European Democracy Action Plan and we also hear about plans for a Digital Services Act and a co-regulatory framework on disinformation.

Digitization and constant technological evolution have brought new challenges and opportunities for democracy. While we all routinely take advantage of the many benefits digitization offers in terms of services, information, entertainment and social engagement, it also has disrupting effects on how we engage with one another. Online innovations have boosted news availability and dissemination, but citizens are also confronted with false or unreliable information which can be difficult to distinguish online, and can encounter offensive and illegal content, including hate speech. While this type of content has always existed in the offline world, the speed and scale at which it spreads online can pose new challenges and a genuine threat to democracy.

We will discuss how different stakeholders evaluate the situation and which concrete policies the EU can contribute to safeguard democracy in the EU.

programme - 15/10/2019

Welcome and introduction

Roza Grafin von Thun und Hohenstein MEP and EIF Member


Trevor Davis, Founder and CEO of Counter Action; Deputy Director for Research at the Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics at George Washington University

Mikko Salo, Founder of FactBar, Media Innovator and EU Advisor to LUT University

Marisa Jimenez Martin, Director of Public Policy and Deputy Head of EU Affairs, Facebook

Paolo Cesarini, Head of Unit, Media Convergence and Social Media, DG CONNECT, European Commission

Exchange of views with participants under the Chatham House rule
Download programme


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