Regulating Fake News and Hoaxes within Visegrad Countries

Banning Russian Outlets to Combat Disinformation

30 December 2022

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Visegrad countries have repeatedly turned to fighting fake news and hoaxes regarding the war. Here is a breakdown of where the V4 countries converge and diverge in their fight against the Kremlin and other bad actors in information warfare.

The issue of fighting fake news and hoaxes has been more relevant following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But the Visegrad countries have heterogeneous approaches to combatting disinformation. They are controversial from regulatory and constitutional perspectives. This analysis uncovers the different ways Visegrad countries approach the issue of combatting disinformation.

Two Visegrad Countries Implement Their Own Bans

The ban on certain Russian outlets has been EU-wide since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Additionally, the Czech Republic and Slovakia banned some local news and current affairs websites that were seen as – in general terms – a threat to national security. 

These websites are listed among 262 “controversial” outlets, according to a local vigilante initiative. Those banned websites were not selected based solely on their ranking in this list of controversial websites. A combination of “intensity” and “popularity” was used when considering their blocking. But the official reasons used for the temporary ban were not transparent and supported by evidence, and certainly widely seen as controversial from a legal–constitutional point of view. 

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Andrej Školkay

Andrej is a scientist in charge of the research team of the School of Communication and Media, n.o. Bratislava, Slovakia, has published widely on various aspects of the media and political sciences. He is the author of Media and Globalisation (SCM, Bratislava, 2009) and published a book on Media Law in Slovakia (Kluwer Law International, The Netherlands, 2016)

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