EU Commission chief vows to fight ‘fake news’ in poll lead-up

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker speaks during a debate on the future of Europe at the European Parliament last week in Strasbourg, France. (AFP)
Updated 22 April 2019

EU Commission chief vows to fight ‘fake news’ in poll lead-up

  • Jean-Claude Juncker: If governments make claims about the EU or the commission, which do not correspond to the truth, then we will respond
  • Juncker: I have already seen attempts to influence the election of the European Parliament by manipulation

BERLIN: EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has reportedly vowed to crack down on any “fake news” in the build-up to next month’s European election campaigns.
“If governments make claims about the EU or the commission, which do not correspond to the truth, then we will respond,” Juncker said in an interview appearing in Tuesday’s edition of newspapers owned by Germany’s Funke media group.
“I will do this myself in the coming weeks before the election.”
Juncker, the commission’s president, vigorously warned against manipulation attempts to sway voters — even from EU member states. “I have already seen attempts to influence the election of the European Parliament by manipulation, which comes from several corners, not only from outside the EU,” he added.
“States within the union are also trying to steer the electorate’s will in a certain direction with fake news.
“The commission is prepared to fight it all off.”
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been a vocal critic of Juncker, holding the EU chief responsible for allowing the UK to potentially fracture the union once the UK finally sees Brexit through.
“The Hungarian government chief Orban claims that I am responsible for Brexit — although that is stuck down by evidence to the contrary,” Juncker said in response. “The Hungarian government also claims that I am to blame for the division of East and West in Europe — although the commission has done everything to fill the gap.” Elections for the European Parliament will take place from May 23 to 26 across the continent.
Voter turnout at European Parliament elections has dropped steadily over the years, hitting a record low of 43 percent at the last poll in 2014 when Euroskeptic parties made major gains.


US officials to ban TikTok, WeChat downloads from Sunday

Updated 18 September 2020

US officials to ban TikTok, WeChat downloads from Sunday

  • The move comes amid rising US-China tensions over technology

WASHINGTON: US officials on Friday ordered a ban on downloads of the popular Chinese-owned mobile applications WeChat and TikTok from Sunday, saying they threaten national security.
The move comes amid rising US-China tensions over technology and a Trump administration effort to engineer a sale of the video app TikTok to American investors.
“The Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the US,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
The initiative would ban WeChat, an app with massive use among Chinese speakers, and TikTok from the online marketplaces operated by Apple and Google.