The Secretary of State for España Global, Irene Lozano, reiterated yesterday that “the facts and data” show that Spain is “a State of Law and a full democracy”, despite the “disinformation campaigns with which some have I tried to create an alternative reality”.
“Misinformation breaks the neutral space in which a democratic society debates with itself, creating parallel realities in which there are no meeting points, but division and distrust”, Lozano declared during the closing session of the seminar Disinformation, journalism and democracy, held in the Aula Magna of the Carlos III University of Madrid, in Getafe, and in which representatives of the European Commission, Google Spain and Portugal, the platform Maldita.es, El País and the British journalist and Pulitzer Prize James Ball participated.
“The facts and data say that Spain is a completely free country, an advanced State under the Rule of Law and fully democratic, but we all know that one thing is how empirical studies classify Spanish democracy, its institutions, its society, and another what is told about Spain and what citizens perceive”, she continued.
“In recent years, some have tried to create an alternative reality through campaigns of disinformation”, and this “decoupling” between reality and the stories that circulate “alters the discussion within society, at the moment when the truth the data is falsified or manipulated”, she complained.
“It is no secret that the most radical Catalan separatism is the one that makes the most international efforts to attack the democratic reputation of Spain”, said Irene Lozano. “We have met two problems: one was the absolutely legitimate defense, in democratic terms, of the pro-independence ideals, the political struggle for independence, but there was another problem as important or more, and that is that these attacks on the reputation of Spain are based on disinformation campaigns and supported by fake data and news”, she said.
According to Irene Lozano, “Spain is not the only country in our area that has to counteract fake news campaigns”. “The Spaniards have witnessed these campaigns, as have the British, who are now caught up in a political decision full of falsehoods and manipulations”, she recalled. Both in the case of Brexit and in Catalonia, she said, “there were many false claims that half of society, whether from the United Kingdom or Catalonia, believed”, as the fact that it was possible to leave without economic difficulties and of the European Union or Spain.
“The EU has assumed that distorted news and misinformation are a threat”, and for that reason, and “following the recommendations of the Action Plan against Disinformation approved by the EU in December 2018, several EU countries, among them Spain, have recently created counter-disinformation units” that will work “through a Rapid Alert System in each country and at European level” and collaborating “closely with a European network of data verifiers and with technology companies”.