The Dutch parliament has approved a motion today calling for the EU to disband the EUvsDisinfo project, a part of the East StratCom Taskforce of the European Union set up to fight pro-Kremlin disinformation. The motion says it is not up to government bodies (at any level) to label publications as fake news and urges the Dutch goverment to take a stand for press freedom.
The motion follows after several Dutch publications (De Gelderlander, GeenStijl and TPO) were labeled as disinformation by the EUvsDisinfo website for publising news articles that included quotes from pro-Kremlin persons and organizations or which expressed critical opinions about Ukraine. These accusations were later removed from the site after protests from the three media outlets in question. But this was not enough for them: they demand a full public retraction and are currently suing the European Union to get one. That case goes to trial on March 14th in Amsterdam.
The motion is available via the website of the Dutch parliament here. We translated it for our readers who don't speak Dutch:
after hearing the deliberations,
considering that the East Stratcom Taskforce, part of the European External Action Service, was set up in 2105 with the goal of unmasking false information from pro-Kremlin sources and publishing about it;
observing that EUvsDisinfo, which is part of this Taskforce, is overshooting this goal, is meddling with the free press in the Netherlands and has so far already unjustly labeled three Dutch publications as fake news;
considering it is not up to government institutions, be it national, European or otherwise, to label free press publications as fake news;
requests that the government expresses itself firmly in European context for the protection of our press and takes a stand for the disbanding of EUvsDisinfo,
and proceeds with the order of the day.