The Balearic parliament is to debate a non-legislative proposal concerning disinformation, hoaxes and fake news. The proposal, which has the support of the three government parties, has been presented by Mercedes Garrido of PSOE.
Garrido says that "we are not talking about proposing any form of censorship or control of information, but about guaranteeing the right to truthful information, as disinformation is being used as an instrument of destabilisation".
Her proposal, which is almost certain to get parliamentary approval, includes the creation of a specific commission to develop a "regional strategy" against disinformation. The Balearic government's director general for communications, Álvaro Gil, says that the government is aware of the proposal and will "accept what the information sector decides". The sector, together with parliament, "will define how we should act". From the government's point of view, he adds, "it is clear that we are the first to be interested in acting against disinformation but without impositions".
The commission, Garrido explains, will comprise representatives from the media and from unions and associations involved with the media sector. "We will give ourselves one year to define strategies and prepare a document that will be sent to the government with concrete proposals for action." Garrido hopes that other parties will support the initiative.
Josep Castell of Més in Minorca says that although these types of initiative tend to be "full of empty promises", his party is supportive. He believes that the commission should also address the "digital divide", which makes social networks fertile ground for fake news.
At a meeting to set out the scope of the parliamentary proposal, the journalists' union in the Balearics put forward certain suggestions. One of these is to refer to "lies" and not fake news, as the latter implies that it is news, when it is not.