Italian Senator proposes national agency to combat disinformation

The proposed agency will partner with intelligence and communication bodies to confront recent revelations regarding Russia’s dissemination of disinformation tactics across Europe.

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Italian Senator Enrico Borghi has introduced a bill to establish a national agency dedicated to combating disinformation within Italy, drawing attention to the ongoing threat posed by misinformation campaigns, particularly those originating from Russia.

The proposed agency, set to collaborate with established intelligence and communications entities, directly responds to recent intelligence agency findings, which highlighted Russia’s persistent use of disinformation tactics across Europe aimed at undermining trust in institutions. The agency’s primary objective would be to monitor and effectively counter these activities.

Borghi’s initiative reflects a global trend where governments are increasingly setting up fact-checking agencies to address the spread of false information. While these efforts may be well-intentioned, concerns about potential government overreach and censorship arise.

Why does it matter? 

The international landscape parallels Borghi’s proposal, as reported by the Medianama. In India, the establishment of a Fact Check Unit by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has faced criticism for its perceived impact on free speech. Similarly, Singapore’s Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act has been utilised in ways that some view as suppressing dissent and targeting political opponents.