The general elections in Slovakia are taking place in less than a month. The Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission is organising a series of workshops with relevant platfoms in Slovakia including the representatives of the biggest social network – Facebook to intensify its preparations, together with the colleagues from other relevant Slovak institutions. Various measures that Facebook is implementing specifically in Slovakia in this crucial period were discussed with a focus on the area of disinformation. Discussions continued during a bilateral meeting with the representatives of the Council discussing further cooperation not only on the national level but also in the context of the leadership of the Council in the network of EU national media regulatory authorities - ERGA.
The workshop was a continuation of a dialogue with the representatives of this company about the way of its functioning and to increase mutual cooperation in areas relevant to not only the approaching Slovak parliamentary elections in February 2020. Policies and measures of Facebook to fight against disinformation were in the spotlight of the discussions as well as an update on measures implemented or planned by Facebook in the run-up and during the elections. These efforts were then in Bratislava scrutinised by more than 20 participating representatives of Slovak institutions including the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic and Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic for Investments and Informatization. The Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission was represented by a member of the board, PhDr. Anikó Dušíková, CSc., director of the Office of The Council, Ľuboš Kukliš and the employees of the office of the Council that have organised the event. Four representatives of Facebook from around Europe responsible for various elections related areas took part in these discussions. This included Mrs Gabriella Cseh the Public Policy Director for Central Eastern Europe and Mrs Jessica Zucker a Product Policy Manager with expertise in mis/disinformation, cybersecurity and election integrity who is involved the process of updating of internal policies regarding content on Facebook.
Afterwards, a bilateral meeting between the representatives of the Council and Facebook took place discussing further cooperation. On the national level, the monitoring activities of the Council focusing on global platforms like Facebook were discussed and how this could be facilitated in the future for example, by the provision of data or tools. Secondly, the discussions revolved around the Code of Practice on the fight against disinformation, to which commitments Facebook has signed up to. The Council is involved in its monitoring in its capacity of presiding over the EU wide monitoring activities at the level of the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA).
Both events are a part of a long term goal of the Council to strengthen cooperation between the public institutions in Slovakia with this company, that is already crucial in the election process most notably online political advertising. A similar meeting has taken place in December with Google. These activities are organised by The Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission as a natural extension of the international cooperation activities of the Council. Other public events are planned in the first half of 2020 to address these issues. The goal is using the strong international position of the Council to facilitate discussions about important forward-looking topics of today in Slovakia by leveraging the built experience and contacts. These have been built during the last years chairmanship of the director of the Office of The Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission, Ľuboš Kukliš at ERGA and his current positions as a board member, where he is responsible for management of relations with the external stakeholders.
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