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Responding to the COVID-19 ‘infodemic’: National countermeasures against information influence in Europe

This collection, edited by Sophie Vériter, Monica Kaminska, Dennis Broeders and Joachim Koops, includes six papers exploring and investigating European responses to COVID-related disinformation, specifically the responses of France, Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, Serbia, and Hungary.

Sophie Vériter, Monica Kaminska, Dennis Broeders & Joachim Koops
06 December 2021
Download the publication here

The coronavirus pandemic has emphasised the crucial role that information flows play in safeguarding public order and the safety of individuals. With an increasingly volatile (social) media eco-system and an unprecedented climate of uncertainty, false reports and harmful campaigns have flourished, highlighting the disruptive intentions of some geopolitical actors on the global scene.

This research project investigates how European states have responded to information influence operations related to COVID-19, particularly investigating the role of foreign sources of influence. Our objective has been to better understand the new challenges – both in practice and research – that have arisen from national experiences. The questions that guided our research project have been: How has the context of a pandemic impacted the way European states counter information influence? Which policy trends have emerged and which results have they yielded? Which issues generated divergence and/or convergence across Europe?

Our report (available for download here) looks at responses and national countermeasures against information influence from France, Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, Serbia and Hungary.

About the authors

Corneliu Bjola is Associate Professor in Diplomatic Studies at the University of Oxford, and Head of the Oxford Digital Diplomacy Research Group.

Semir Dzebo is a doctoral candidate at the Department of International Relations at Central European University in Vienna and a researcher at Raskrinkavanje.ba, a fact-checking organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Martin Fertmann is junior researcher for content moderation and international law at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut and fellow at the Centre for Law in the Digital Transformation and the Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law at the University of Hamburg.

Elsa Hedling is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Political Science, Lund University and an Associate Research Fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs in Stockholm, Sweden.

Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer is the director of the Institute for Strategic Research (IRSEM) at the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, and the author of several reports on hybrid threats and information manipulation.

Péter Kállai is an assistant professor at Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Social Sciences. He holds a PhD in the Interdisciplinary Program in Sociology, his research focuses on minority rights.

Matthias C. Kettemann is Professor of Innovation, Theory and Philosophy of Law at the University of Innsbruck and leads research groups and programs at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research, Hans-Bredow-Institut, and the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society.

Tamás Peragovics is PhD candidate at Central European University, a junior research fellow at the Institute of World Economics, and a lecturer at ELTE University Budapest, Hungary.

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