Brussels, 20 October 2020: Election-Watch.EU participated in an online discussion panel organised by Carnegie Europe, European Movement, European Partnership for Democracy and Democracy Reporting International to share its social media monitoring experience and discuss online electoral integrity.
The panel of kick-off speakers included Marie-Hélène Boulanger, Head of Unit, Union Citizenship Rights and Free Movement, DG Justice, European Commission (substituted by Harry Panagopulos from DGJUST), Patrick Costello, Head of Division, Democracy and Electoral Observation, EEAS
Carla Luis, Member of the Portuguese Electoral Commission and Researcher: Elections, Democracy and Human Rights Training, research and support, University of Coimbra as well as Armin Rabitsch from Election-Watch.EU.
The European Union’s proposed European Democracy Action Plan and Digital Services Act are grounded by the ambition to help protect and bolster democracy in Europe in the digital age – providing an opportunity to apply a multistakeholder approach for safeguarding elections.
Tech companies have tried and improved several modes of addressing malicious actors and content on their platforms, with limited success. Governments around the world are also tackling how to regulate the threats posed to electoral integrity. European civil society has become more specialized in addressing these problems and holding online platforms and governments to account, but still lacks the tools, data access and coordination to react systematically and in real time to such challenges.
This panel showcased lessons learned from these different stakeholders in safeguarding elections in the digital age, questioning their roles and potential for co-ordination in their common effort to improve the information ecosystem and foster resilience of European democracies.
The European Democracy Group is run jointly by Carnegie Europe and European Movement International, as part of Carnegie’s Reshaping European Democracy initiative, established in 2017 to analyse, debate, and help improve the state of democracy in Europe. For this Civil Society Series, the European Democracy Group was partnering with Democracy Reporting International and the European Partnership for Democracy to deepen the discussions around important policy initiatives aiming to strengthen European democracy.