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Italian police to fight 'fake news' during election campaign

Europe
19.01.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Rome (dpa) - Italian police have set up a new service for citizens concerned about online fake news, as the country gears up for March 4 general elections.

Using an online form, citizens can ask police experts to verify news, which could then lead to them being officially proven wrong by official police statement, or even taken down from websites.

"It is an absolutely transparent and legitimate tool," Interior Minister Marco Minniti said as the initiative was launched late on Thursday.

"We do not want to create a Big Brother," Italian police chief Franco Gabrielli added, ruling out the possibility that free speech could be endangered.

However, the leftist Free and Equals (LeU) party was very sceptical.

"I wonder in which democratic state it is possible to give to [police] the power to decide autonomously what is true and what is not," LeU lawmaker Giovanni Paglia said Friday.

The ruling Democratic Party (PD) has often accused the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right League party of spreading fake news on social media to discredit the government.

There have also been reports about Russia spreading fake news to help the M5S and the League. The two opposition parties have denied any illicit connection with Moscow.

 

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