The Commission is setting up a High Level Group (HLG) to advise on policy initiatives to counter fake news and the spread of disinformation online.

The phenomenon of fake news is more pervasive and impactful today than ever before because of the ease at which news can be posted and shared by anyone on social media, the speed at which such news may spread, and the global reach they might effortlessly attain.

Tackling fake news requires a comprehensive approach that addresses the problems journalism faces in the current news media landscape, as well as the role and responsibilities of social media users in spreading misinformation online. It also requires balancing fundamental principles such as freedom of expression, media pluralism, and the right of citizens to diverse and reliable information.

To address this problem, the Commission is calling for applications with a view to selecting members of a high-level group of experts (HLG) to advise on policy initiatives to counter disinformation spread online.

The HLG’s tasks shall be to advise the Commission on all issues arising in the context of fake information spread across traditional and social media and how to cope with its social and political consequences. More specifically the HLG shall:

  1. Analyse in-depth the current situation and legal framework, as well as  the potential political and social risks associated with the spread of disinformation online;
  2. Define the scope of the problem and canvass legislative or non-legislative interventions to limit the dissemination of fake content; in doing so, a distinction should be drawn between false information amounting to illegal content under EU or national laws e.g. incitement to hatred, violence or terrorism, defamation, etc., and false information falling outside the scope of such laws, and therefore not illegal;
  3. Define roles and responsibilities of all relevant stakeholders with attention to the functioning of social networks and other online platforms, and the vulnerabilities of professional news media;
  4. Assess the effectivenes of the voluntary measures put in place so far by online platforms and news media organisations to counter fake news;
  5. Assess possible improvements to such existing voluntary measures,
  6. Sketch out the direction for developing quality journalism (data journalism, investigative journalism, etc.) and improving media literacy as complementary actions to promote trust in media and users' awarenes;
  7. Identify guiding principles for possible self-regulation based on shared good practices and coordination of relevant policies and activities at EU and national levels.

The high-level group is to hold its inagural meeting in January 2018.

Details of the application and selection procedures are available in the call for applications (Privacy statement giving details on the protection of your personal data). The duly signed applications must be sent by 11 December, 2017 at the latest.

For further information please contact us.