In a resolutions approved on Wednesday, 23 November, members of the European Parliament warn that the pressure of anti-EU propaganda coming from Russia and Islamic terrorist groups is currently on a rise. This propaganda is intended to distort the truth, incite fear, provoke doubt and divide the EU.
«I was given the task of describing the propaganda of both state and non-state actors. We have seen many transformations of it. As regards the Russian Federation, the situation is now clear. After its annexation of Crimea and aggression in the eastern part of Ukraine, many countries are fully aware of its disinformation and manipulation,» – said rapporteur Anna Fotyga (ECR, PL).
The resolution emphasizes the need to prevent disinformation campaigns from countries like Russia and terrorist organizations like Daesh, Al-Qaeda and others.
The report mentions that hostile propaganda against the EU and its member states is used to distort the truth, provoke doubt, divide the EU and its North American partners, paralyse the decision-making process, discredit EU institutions and incite fear and uncertainty among EU residents.
MEPs warn that Kremlin has increased its propaganda against the EU since the annexation of Crimea and the beginning of the hybrid war in Donbass. They admit that Russia actively uses all kinds of tools, including think-tanks (Russkiy Mir), special institutions (Rossotrudnichestvo), multi-lingual television channels (Russia Today/RT), pseudo-news agencies and multimedia services (Sputnik), social media and so-called internet trolls to contest democratic values, divide Europe, gain support and create the impression about instability in Eastern European member states. The report mentions that «Kremlin is funding political parties and other organisations within the EU».
Considering that the EU and its residents are the main targets for ISIS/Daesh, MEPs urge member states to cooperate more closely to protect society, especially youngsters, from being recruited into the ranks of terrorists and prevent their radicalization. MEPs also call for the creation of a narrative to counter that of ISIS/Daesh. This includes «empowerment and increased visibility of mainstream Muslim scholars who have the credibility to delegitimise Daesh propaganda».
To prevent campaign aimed against the EU, MEPs suggest investing in investing in awareness raising, education, online and local media, investigative journalism and information literacy, which would empower citizens to analyse media content carefully. It is equally important to adapt communication to specific regions, including access to information in local languages, says the text.
The resolution also suggests deepening EU and NATO cooperation on strategic communication, reinforcing the EU’s 9-strong strategic communication task force and providing more support to boost media resilience in EU neighbourhood countries.
The resolution was approved by 304 votes to 179, with 208 abstentions.