The government wants to punish people for sharing fake news

The national research institute NASK has published data on the extent of disinformation in Polish cyberspace, and now the Government Plenipotentiary for Security of the Information Space of the Republic of Poland Stanisław Żaryn is talking about the possibility of punishment for providing false information.

NASK summed up the year fighting disinformation

We informed you about NASK’s activities related to disinformation on the Polish Internet. The amount of misinformation has increased sharply since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

Since February 2022, almost 1,600 accounts have surfaced on Polish social media that have shared false information. These accounts were mainly active on two platforms: Twitter and Facebook.

NASK emphasized that the fake news identified by the institute focused on four main narrative lines:

  • polarization of society due to various current events;
  • Hostile attitude towards Ukrainians;
  • Provoking a sense of danger, eg risk of World War III or nuclear conflict;
  • Informing about the “pulling” of Poland into the war.

There will be penalties for fake news

The Government Plenipotentiary for Security of the Information Space of the Republic of Poland, Stanisław Żaryn, was asked in an interview with RMF FM whether the government is working on some form of combating disinformation that does not at the same time restrict freedom of expression. In response, Żaryn stressed that he did not know if this solution would take the form of a law, but “Various ways of punishing such disinformation activities are being explored”.

Source: Pixabay, John Iglar

When asked again whether spreading fake news should be punished with imprisonment, the government representative answered rather evasively that he did not know whether such a solution was the best, but it did Various options are being considered within the government. In addition, Stanisław Żaryn stressed that there are cases of restrictions on the freedom to spread disinformation “known in the West, by our allies”.

There was also an assurance in the conversation that “If any legal provisions have been invented and developed, it is precisely in connection with the identification of persons who willfully participate in the dissemination or use of lies in order to use them against the Polish state.”

Stanisław Żaryn stressed that some assumptions about the possible law should already be known in the summer.

Do you think it’s a good idea to punish disinformation, but is the risk of restricting free speech on social media too great in this case?

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