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EVENT REPORT

Summary of the multi-stakeholder discussions in preparation of the Guidance to strengthen the Code of Practice on Disinformation

The Commission organised multi-stakeholder discussions between 23 February and 4 March 2021 - in the form of four online meetings - to collect input feeding into the preparation of the Guidance for strengthening the Code of Practice on Disinformation, as a follow-up to the European Democracy Action Plan.

The discussions involved relevant stakeholders such as signatories of the Code of Practice on Disinformation (online platforms, trade associations representing the ad industry and advertisers), academic researchers, fact-checkers, the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA), the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) and civil society organisations.

During the meetings stakeholders discussed which areas of the Code should be strengthened and how the Guidance could contribute to this, with the aim of evolving the Code to a more robust instrument based on clear commitments and subject to an appropriate oversight mechanism. The Guidance will also establish a bridge to the Digital Services Act (DSA) and to the upcoming legislation on sponsored political content.  The Code should evolve towards a co-regulatory instrument under the DSA, which for very large online platforms brings legally binding risk assessment and mitigation obligations.

The discussion evolved around the issues identified in the European Democracy Action Plan, the Assessment of the Code of Practice on Disinformation and the experiences drawn from the Code’s functioning related to Covid-19 disinformation:

  • reinforce the integrity of online services, 
  • empower consumers,
  • limit the monetisation of disinformation
  • ensure access to data for research purposes
  • strengthen open and non-discriminatory cooperation between platforms, academic researchers and fact-checkers.

The design and implementation of a robust monitoring of the Code based on clear Key Performance Indicators was also a key area of the discussions.

The detailed summary of the meetings provides an overview of the topics discussed and views expressed by the stakeholders throughout the meetings.