Fostering independent journalism and press freedom to protect against information-related dangers of the digital age
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This paper outlines current information-related dangers of the digital age that are undermining democracy and human rights both in Europe and on a global scale. In particular, it focuses on three related trends: the weaponisation of information, truth decay, and information disorder. This paper highlights the key importance of press freedom and independent media for democratic societies in countering these dangers. It examines policy options for addressing these trends, which in a wider perspective signal a turn towards illiberalism and authoritarianism, stressing the complexity of the problem and that of the needed solutions. It argues that instead of being primarily concerned with quick fixes such as media regulation and installing fact-checking mechanisms, policymakers should invest in long-term approaches that include support for media development, media literacy and public diplomacy to counter these information-related trends. First and foremost, it recommends that the EU and its member states devote more effort to protecting and promoting independent media and press freedom at home and abroad in order to strengthen democracy in light of these ongoing trends.