Dutch gov't takes official stance against Fake News, foreign electioneering

Kasja Ollongren
Kasja Ollongren. Photo: Rijksoverheid / Wikimedia Commons

With the and a on the new B coming up in March next year, the Dutch government has taken an official stance against fake news and foreign meddling and is taking more steps to battle these attempts to influence public opinion in the Netherlands.

The government is teaming up with the European Commission, NATO, and a number of media and social media companies to prevent the spread of fake news and to make sure voters get correct and complete information in the run-up to the elections, Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs and Kingdom relations wrote to parliament on Monday. "It is essential that public opinion is not influenced by disinformation from state actors", the Ministry wrote in a statement.

Minister Ollongren recently met with representatives from Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft to discuss measures that have been and can still be taken to prevent the spread of disinformation. One of these measures is a. They are working on a special dashboard which will show articles that Facebook users identified as fake news. Ollongren will continue these talks in the coming period. She will also meet with media parties in January.

The Minister also recently traveled to Strasbourg to discuss the European approach to fake news. The Netherlands will work to strengthen the East StratCom Taskforce, which identifies, names and disproves fake news spread by pro-Kremlin media.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science approached candidates to join the 'high level group fake news' that the European Commission is in the process of establishing. In this group journalists, scientists, and experts will discuss the phenomenon of fake news and make recommendations on how to jointly combat it. 

The European Commission is also starting a public consultation in which the public can share information and experiences around fake news. The Netherlands is advocated for more intensive cooperation between the EU and NATO in this. 

Earlier this year Dutch military intelligence agency MIVD called Russia's attempts to influence public opinion with fake news and the Western world in general. Last month Ollongren also w in the Netherlands,

Concerns that Russia may be in March of this year, the , prompted the government to have all