Mr Olgierd Geblewicz, President of the West Pomerania region, Poland and member of the CoR, hosted a group of CoR CIVEX commission members in Świnoujście, Poland in the framework of the study visit "How to combat hate speech and disinformation – case studies".
CIVEX members met young people from the Youth Council of West Pomerania and had an exchange on the issue of disinformation and fake news, and the negative impact of this growing social phenomenon. Young people shared their recent experience in learning about disinformation in a very attractive way, through online games – an innovative approach that was used to introduce the topic to young people at trainings and workshops on disinformation, organised by local NGOs with the support of the Secretariat for Youth of West Pomerania. Members were curious to hear about young people's experience in using online platforms and fact-checking, and were impressed by their enthusiasm and interest in the topic.
Discussions focused on good practices and successful ways to counter disinformation, and highlighted education as a primary tool in strengthening the resilience of society, especially of the youth, against the negative impact of this growing social phenomenon.
Disinformation and the ways to counter it is a topic of great importance for the EU at all levels – from local to international. Access to accurate information from a variety of points of view is essential for the good functioning of democratic political systems.
The CoR, and CIVEX commission in particular, has been very engaged on this crucial topic. The CoR adopted an opinion on "Tackling online disinformation: a European approach" on its 7 February 2019 meeting. The rapporteur was Olgierd Geblewicz (PL/EPP). A new CoR opinion on disinformation, with rapporteur Randel Länts (EE/PES), is expected to be adopted in the next few months, addressing the European Commission-EEAS Action plan against disinformation.