Sweden creates agency to combat fake news before September election
Sweden, which is holding a general election in September, has joined France in creating an agency to combat disinformation.
The mission of the Swedish Psychological Defence Agency is to “defend our open and democratic society and free opinions by identifying, analysing and responding to inappropriate influences and other misleading information directed at Sweden or Swedish interests”.
The agency, which launched on January 1, has departments that respectively “identify, analyse and respond to the impact of undue influence and other misleading information” and “to develop and strengthen society’s overall capacity for psychological defence”.
The government authority, which did not name any countries it suspects of participating in disinformation campaigns, said it “will provide support to the population, agencies, municipalities, the media, voluntary defence organisations and civil society in general, as well as working for increased coordination between these actors”.
In 2018, Sweden’s domestic intelligence agency said foreign powers did not carry out any comprehensive campaign to influence the Swedish parliamentary election. However, it added that a “foreign power exerts influence on Sweden in the long term”. The intelligence agency briefed ministers before the 2018 election about the risk, security and safety measures. The agency did not identify any country involved by name.
Sweden’s next general election is scheduled for September 11.
France, which has a presidential election in April, set up an agency last year to combat foreign disinformation and fake news.