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Italian president condemns Russian election interference, calls for global response

During a state visit to Moldova, President Mattarella called for decisive measures against escalating Russian disinformation campaigns, particularly those that intensified during European elections. A report by the European External Action Service highlighted Russian manipulation, including the creation of fake newspaper

During the state visit to Moldova… Italian President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella called for decisive action against the escalating Russian disinformation campaigns that intensified during the European elections. “In Italy, there are constant attempts at disinformation from the Russian side, which particularly intensifies during election times,” President Mattarella highlighted.

  • At a press conference with Moldovan President Maia Sandu, President Mattarella condemned these actions as “unacceptable forms of hostility.” He emphasised the need for the international community to establish clear rules of conduct that respect the sovereignty of other nations.
  • Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference (FIMI) was addressed in a report published today by the European External Action Service, which reported how fake internet domains of newspapers – in Italy, La Repubblica and La Stampa – were created by the Russians to spread fake news during the European election campaign. 

At the national level. The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established a StratCom unit with extended responsibilities to combat disinformation.

  • In April, Italy and the US signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the sidelines of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Capri, Italy, to expand cooperation to counter foreign state information manipulation. 
  • Senator Enrico Borghi, a member of the Parliament’s Intelligence committee (Copasir), has proposed creating an agency with specific responsibilities for combating disinformation.

At the international level. The final communiqué from the G7 leaders includes a special section recognising the risks to democracies from foreign information manipulation and interference (FIMI), disruption of political campaigns, malicious cyber activity and transnational repression.  

  • In this regard, G7 leaders called for creating a G7 Rapid Response Mechanism by the end of the year to provide a collective response framework to counter foreign threats to democracies, including public disclosure of foreign information manipulation operations. 
  • The G7 also called on technology companies, particularly social media platforms, to step up their efforts to prevent and counter FIMI campaigns and the potential misuse of AI for this purpose and to work towards higher standards of transparency and accountability on these issues.

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