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Parliamentary questions
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18 August 2017
P-003405/2017(ASW)
Answer given by Vice-President Ansip on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: P-003405/2017

The Commission is aware of the adverse impact that disinformation campaigns can have on Russian-speaking communities in the EU and in neighbouring countries.

The Commission supports the European news channel Euronews, which is widely available in the Baltic EU Member States, Russia and other neighbouring countries. Euronews produces independent information in 12 languages, including Russian, and Russia hosts the channel's largest audience. For this reason, Euronews can already be seen as fulfiling the role of a pan-European TV channel which projects European views and values in Russian. The possibility of launching a new pan-European TV channel in Russian is currently limited by budgetary constraints.

However, there are further tools available in this domain. The European External Action Service set up a communication Task Force (East StratCom Task Force)(1) that aims to address disinformation campaigns on the EU in the Eastern neighbourhood and in Russia. This Task Force aims at reaching out to the Russian-speaking population via networks of communicators, journalists and media representatives.

Additional initiatives, including a Russian-language news exchange platform(2) to support independent media, have been launched with EU support and in cooperation with Member States. EU funding has also been granted to the European Endowment for Democracy (EED)(3) — an important partner of EU institutions — to bring more pluralism to the media landscape through supporting a series of small-scale media initiatives in Eastern Partnership countries. This is in line with the conclusions of a feasibility study on ‘Bringing Plurality and Balance to the Russian Language Media Space’ carried out by EED in 2015(4).

(1)https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage_en/2116/%20Questions%20and%20Answers%20about%20the%20East%20StratCom%20Task%20Force
(2)https://www.freepressunlimited.org/en/projects/russian-language-news-exchange-supports-independent-media
(3)https://www.democracyendowment.eu/
(4)https://www.democracyendowment.eu/news/bringing-plurality-1/

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