Disinformation: a social and political challenge


The prominence of facts determining credibility of news and the media until the recent past is increasingly questioned in the present. Online manipulation adversely affect our previously shared notion of authenticity and trust. CONNECT university kicked off its series of sessions on "Tackling online disinformation" with a special lecture on “Disinformation: a social and political challenge”. Through this introductory session that brought together European Commission and external experts, the participants had the chance to get a good understanding of the impact of disinformation and explored effective strategies for tackling it. The session focused on disinformation as an evolving problem, covering the potential risks of harm: the threats to democratic political processes, and to democratic values that shape public policies in various sectors. You can watch the recording here.


Giuseppe Abbamonte has been the Director for Media Policy since 1 July 2016. The Directorate is in charge of the copyright regulatory framework, the Audio Visual Media Services Directive, the programme MEDIA providing financial support to the audiovisual industry and the European strategy on countering online disinformation.  Before then Giuseppe Abbamonte was at the head of the Directorate responsible for the elaboration of the European Data Strategy. In his former positions, he was the head of the electronic communications policy unit and then of the cybersecurity and on-line privacy unit. As part of the latter job, he supervised and directed the elaboration of the European Cybersecurity Strategy and of a proposal for a European law on network and information security. He has extensive proven experience in handling complex merger cases and in consumer law.

Before joining the Commission he was an associate in an international law firm in Milan for four years (1989/1992), where he dealt mainly with commercial law and competition law.

Giuseppe Abbamonte is the author of several publications mainly in English law magazines.

Title of the presentation: EU strategy on disinformation

Renate Schroeder is the Director of the European Federation of Journalists. In 1993 she started working for the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and since 2003 she works for the EFJ. Advocacy at EU and Council of Europe level; presentation of EFJ at international meetings and fact-finding media freedom missions; project work, communication and assistance in several EFJ expert groups including on freelances, broadcasting  media literacy and digital journalism, cover her work-load in the small dynamic Brussels office. Renate Schroeder studied International Relations and Political Science at Boston University (Bachelor’s Degree in 1988) and in Berlin at the Free University (Masters in 1992). Renate worked among other at the United Nations, New York, the research institute FAST in Berlin and the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation in Brussels before she joined the IFJ/EFJ team.  She is of German nationality and speaks English, French, Italian, German and Spanish (passive).

Title of the presentation: Disinformation, journalism and the challenge of trust

Charles Macmillan is Deputy Head of the Text and Data Mining Unit at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC). The JRC is the in house research and knowledge management department of the Commission, performing and surveying research to support evidence based policy making. The Unit brings together experts in managing and analysing different types of big data for various policy areas. Charles currently leads a team researching methods fo detecting online disinformation and producing tools to support media analysts and fact checkers working with disinformation in online and social media.

Before joining the Commission, Charles worked in a mobile teleommunications multinational in Milan.

Title of the presentation: Disinformation - studying the underlying challenges

For more sessions on "Tackling online disinformation" please have a look at the full programme. This initiative is jointly organised by DG CONNECT and DG COMM.



Online Disinformation