EEAS East StratCom Task Force policies to identify and collect ‘disinformation examples’

La solicitud fue parcialmente exitosa.

Dear European External Action Service,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting documents which contain the following information:

a) Document or other medium listing the criteria enabling EEAS East StratCom Task Force and its partners to identify and collect ‘disinformation examples’, defined as ‘providing a partial, distorted or false view or interpretation and/or spreading key pro-Kremlin messaging’ in the Disinformation Review; (EEAS East StratCom Task Force Disinformation Definition)
b) Document or other medium defining the criteria (or other requirements) partner organisation need to satisfy to join the ‘network of over 400 journalists, civil society organisations, academics and public authorities in over 30 countries’; (EEAS East StratCom Task Force Partnership Policy)
c) Document or other medium defining whether and how EEAS East StratCom Task Force and its partners engage (e.g. notification, etc) with entities whose news and/or views are listed in the Disinformation Review; (EEAS East StratCom Task Force Reporting Policy)
d) Correspondence between EEAS East StratCom Task Force and other EU institutions regarding a, b and c supra.

Yours faithfully,

Alberto Alemanno, Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law, HEC Paris

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, Servicio europeo de acción exterior

Dear Mr Alemanno,

 

This message is an acknowledgement of receipt for your request for access
to documents under Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to
European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (which the EEAS is
also respecting).

 

Your request for access to documents has been registered under reference
number: 2017/101

Please refer to this number in any further correspondence.

 

In accordance with the Regulation, you will receive a reply within 15
working days: 31/8/2017.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS

[1][EEAS request email]

SG.AFFGEN.2 – Parliamentary Affairs

 

References

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1. mailto:[EEAS request email]

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, Servicio europeo de acción exterior

2 Adjuntos

 

Dear Mr. Alemanno,

 

On behalf of Mr Visentin please find attached the reply to your request
for access to documents.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS (ZD)

[1][EEAS request email]

SG.AFFGEN.2 – Parliamentary Affairs

 

References

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1. mailto:[EEAS request email]

CONFIRMATORY REQUEST

Dear European External Action Service,

Please pass this on to the person who reviews confirmatory applications.

I am filing the following confirmatory application with regards to my access to documents request 'EEAS East StratCom Task Force policies to identify and collect ‘disinformation examples’'.

On August 9, 2017, I requested, under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, documents which contain the following information:

a) Document or other medium listing the criteria enabling EEAS East StratCom Task Force and its partners to identify and collect ‘disinformation examples’, defined as ‘providing a partial, distorted or false view or interpretation and/or spreading key pro-Kremlin messaging’ in the Disinformation Review; (EEAS East StratCom Task Force Disinformation Definition); 
b) Document or other medium defining the criteria (or other requirements) partner organisations need to satisfy to join the ‘network of over 400 journalists, civil society organisations, academics and public authorities in over 30 countries’; (EEAS East StratCom Task Force Partnership Policy);
c) Document or other medium defining whether and how EEAS East StratCom Task Force and its partners engage (e.g. notification, etc) with entities whose news and/or views are listed in the Disinformation Review; (EEAS East StratCom Task Force Reporting Policy;
d) Correspondence between EEAS East StratCom Task Force and other EU institutions regarding a, b and c supra.nk to this

On August 31, 2017 I received a response from EEAS, stating that none of the above documents exist. Yet the same response refers to the following two publicly-available information:

1. EU Council Conclusions 19-20 March 2015, in particular paragraph:

13. The European Council stressed the need to challenge Russia's ongoing disinformation campaigns and invited the High Representative, in cooperation with Member States and EU institutions, to prepare by June an action plan on strategic communication. The establishment of a communication team is a first step in this regard.

2. Questions and Answers about the East StratCom Task Force

While document 1) does not contain any detailed reference to the day-to-day operation of the EEAS East StratCom Task Force, document 2) does contain a set of statements that confirmed the public interest of my initial request.

It is against this backdrop that I’d like to ask EEAS to reconsider its position while denying the existence of the documents requested.

In particular, the Q&A states the following:
- “Does the Task Force compile lists of "propagandists"?

“No, the Task Force does not compile any lists of persons involved in disinformation activities. But the Disinformation Review, published weekly by the East StratCom Task Force, is a collection of disinformation stories that have been reported to the Task Force by its network.”

Hence my request to obtain from EEA:

- Document or other medium listing the criteria enabling EEAS East StratCom Task Force and its partners to identify and collect ‘disinformation examples’ reported to the Task Force by its network;

Another relevant point Q&A is the following:

- What is the disinformation/myth-busting network? How can I join?
“The network is comprised of more than 400 experts, journalists, officials, NGOs and Think Tanks in over 30 countries reporting disinformation articles to the task force. To join the network, please contact the Disinformation Review team.”
This suggests that the Disinformation Review Team is in charge of selecting the actors joining the network. Hence my request to obtain:
b) Document or other medium defining the criteria (or other requirements) partner organisations need to satisfy to join the ‘network of over 400 journalists, civil society organisations, academics and public authorities in over 30 countries’; (EEAS East StratCom Task Force Partnership Policy) 

As for my request under c), it appears that the EEAS East StratCom Task Force and its partners do not engage with – or entertain any relationship – with the actors whose stories are reported and enlisted in the disinformation review. Should it not be the case, I’d welcome EEAS to reconsider its position in releasing the documents enlisted under c).

Finally, I’d like to reiterate my original request to obtain:
d) Correspondence between EEAS East StratCom Task Force and other EU institutions regarding a, b and c supra.

Conclusions

Should the EEAS not satisfy my request for access to the above documents, I intend to lodge a complaint to the EU Ombudsman. Your current response might indeed qualify as an act of maladministration insofar as it does not qualify as a response within the meaning of Regulation 1049. Should instead emerge that none of the documents above exist – as your initial response to my original request suggests -, this will unveil a legal gap in the protection of those entities whose ‘disinformation examples’ are enlisted into the Disinformation Review. In other words, insofar as their legal situation is affected by the action by EEAS East StratCom Task Force and its network, they are entitled to legal protection. This will in turn leave the EEAS East StratCom Task Force open to legal actions as its current review system manifestly conflicts with the principle of legality and in particular with the right to be heard as well as the right to effective judicial review as enshrined in the EU Treaties as well as the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

A full history of my request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/eeas...

Yours faithfully,

Alberto Alemanno
Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law, HEC Paris
Global Professor of Law, New York University School of Law

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, Servicio europeo de acción exterior

Dear Mr Alemanno,

 

This message is an acknowledgement of receipt for your confirmatory
application requesting for a review of our reply dated 31.8.2017 under
Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament,
Council and Commission documents (which the EEAS is also respecting).

 

Your confirmatory application has the same reference number 2017/101 as
the initial one. Please refer to this number in any further
correspondence.

 

In accordance with the Regulation, you will receive a reply within 15
working days, i.e. by March the 25nd, 2017.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS (AD)

[1][EEAS request email]

SG.AFFGEN.2 – Parliamentary Affairs

 

References

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1. mailto:[EEAS request email]

EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, Servicio europeo de acción exterior

Dear Mr Alemanno,    

 

Our services are still examining your request for access to documents.
Would you be so kind as to be patient for a some more days for the reply
to be adequately validated.

We will make every effort to process your request as quickly as possible.

 

We apologize for this delay.

Thank you for your understanding,

 

Yours sincerely,

 

EEAS Access to Documents (AD)

[1][email address]

SG.AFFGEN.2 – Parliamentary Affairs

References

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EEAS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS, Servicio europeo de acción exterior

2 Adjuntos

Dear Mr Alemanno,

 

On behalf of Mr Di Vita please find attached the reply to your
confirmatory request for access to documents.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

EEAS Access to Documents (AD)

[1][email address]

SG.AFFGEN.2 – Parliamentary Affairs

European External Action Service

 

[2]unnamed

 

 

 

References

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