The Bulgarian Government is Setting up an Anti-disinformation Unit
The government is setting up an anti-disinformation unit to work by the end of the month. The unit will be in the structure of the Council of Ministers and will be responsibility of a Deputy Prime Minister, reports Dnevnik, citing their own sources. Its creation is enshrined in the Joint Action Plan of the European Commission and the European Parliament adopted in December last year.
The Bulgarian Unit will be a "contact point" with the Rapid Response System, which will be led by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs (currently Federica Mogherini, but in November the European Commission will have a new faction). It is not yet known whether and what kind of staff will this structure have, what technical and expert opportunities will be used and where it will be located.
The specific employee who will personally contact will also receive a lot of political information. Therefore, this is not just a clerical administrator. The government does not answer who the Deputy Prime Minister for Combating Disinformation will be, most likely Tomislav Donchev. In some of the European countries, strategic units have been established at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Rapid Alert System is part of the European Commission's Action Plan to Combat Disinformation and Federica Mogherini. It addresses attempts and threats from third parties to manipulate open discussions in EU member states, with "third countries" tacitly referring to Russia.
"Permanent targeted disinformation campaigns against the Union, its institutions and policies are likely to increase in the run-up to the European Parliament elections in 2019. This requires urgent and immediate action to protect the Union, its institutions and its citizens," the plan said.
The objectives of the rapid response system are to ensure coordination between Member States, the European Commission, the European External Action Service and the exchange of information on "fake" real-time information.
The contact point (ie the Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister) will coordinate the activities of all competent national authorities on the signals received in the system. The European system will be based on a "secure" platform where Member States can share information (unclassified and open source only) about foreign campaigns and attempts to distribute fake news. This will also be the space for coordinating the reactions of states
The system is planned to be linked to the existing Emergency Response Coordination Center as well as the Situation Center of the European External Action Service (these systems work 24/7). The EU plan foresees that the system will work together with existing networks of the European Parliament, NATO and the G7.
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