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4liberty.eu Review No. 13 – DisinforNation: Disinformation Practices in CEE
The thirteenth issue of 4liberty.eu Review, titled “DisinforNation: Disinformation Practices in CEE”, focuses on the techniques employed by various agents in the region aimed at seeding and spreading false or manufactured information. By analyzing the cases from the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Croatia, among others, we attempt to shed some light the most recent and troubling phenomena in order to recommend most suitable solutions to combatting disinformation.
The VISIO JOURNAL Vol. 5: The Economics of a Pandemic – The Case of COVID-19
A pandemic is a great threat to the health and safety of the people. In addition, given the interdependence of economic and social systems, a pandemic produces considerable social costs and profoundly disrupts the economy.
In responding to the exigencies of the current global health crisis caused by an outbreak of the coronavirus, governments worldwide have made vast and unprecedented decisions to combat the virus’s spread and protect lives by detecting disease, reducing new cases, and limiting mortality. In such times, governments need to exercise prudence when introducing emergency measures to control the virus, weighing carefully what limitations to impose on human rights and freedoms.
The 5th issue of The Visio Journal features four papers exploring the economic implications of the coronavirus pandemic for the citizens, workers, households, businesses, state budgets, and economies. Supported by FNF Prague.
Behind Closed Curtains – Disinformation on messenger services
Ann Cathrin Riedel
The novel coronavirus that has been rampant since the beginning of 2020 revealed what many people, at least in Germany, were unaware of: disinformation is also present in the non-political sphere, and it is increasingly being spread via messengers such as WhatsApp and Telegram. In Germany, for example, two voice messages went viral via WhatsApp and spread disinformation about the virus. What findings do we have so far on the spread of disinformation via messengers? The paper explores this question, and looks not only at Germany but also at India and Brazil – two countries that have already had to struggle with the problem to a considerable extent. What can politics, what can we do to stop the mass spread of disinformation?
The New Law on the Right to Assembly in Hungary as Applied in Practice
A collaborative research paper by human rights lawyers Dalma Dojcsak, Erika Farkas, Tamas Fazekas, Szabolcs Hegyi, Andras Kadar & Mate Szabo
The freedom of peaceful assembly is a vital and functioning political right in Hungary. In 2018, after the third-in-a-row landslide election victory of the illiberal Fidesz party, a new law on assemblies came into force substantially reshaping the underlying regulatory framework.
How did protests held in the proximity of the Prime Minister’s residence contribute to the wording of the new law? How are previously banned extreme right-wing demonstrations assessed under the new regulation? Is there a more restrictive new standard for traffic-based bans? What kind of administrative obstacles are organisers facing in the reshaped notification procedure? What are the new tools in the hand of the police to restrict the right to assembly and how are these applied in practice?
Amongst others, these topics are examined in light of the jurisprudence that the Hungarian courts produced during the roughly one and a half years following the new law’s entry into force.
Limited Welcome: Protecting the Media from Hostile Foreign Influence (AMO)
Ivana Karásková, Association for International Affairs (AMO)
Matej Šimalčík, Central European Institute of Asian Studies (CEIAS)
The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that the media in democratic countries is indeed a strategic industry, as it serves as the principle means of communication between governments and citizens. Yet it is also during a crisis that hostile foreign powers can use the same channels of communication to influence narratives, spread disinformation and contribute to panic or social unrest. Hostile foreign influence to change the public discourse can be effective, as it has so far gone largely unnoticed by both European governments as well as society at large. The problem has not yet been acknowledged, quantified and properly responded to. Legislation treating the media as a strategic industry is either missing or exists in a rudimentary form.
In order to address the issue, the Association for International Affairs (AMO) published the Policy Paper “Limited Welcome: protecting the media from hostile foreign influence” in June 2020. The project was supported by the Prague office of Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.
Adnieszka M. Walorska
Applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are playing an increasing role in our society – but the new possibilities of this technology come hand in hand with new risks. One such risk is misuse of the technology to deliberately disseminate false information. With the use of AI algorithms, videos can now be falsified quickly and relatively cheaply (“deepfakes”) without requiring any specialised knowledge. Read more about the political/societal challenges and how to tackle them in this analysis.
This time, their primary focus is the taxation of labor and capital – from the cases of Poland and the Czech Republic, to Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. We do, however, tackle also related phenomena – by showcasing, for example, the Slovakian take on carbon taxes.
All this has been done in a bid to familiarize the Reader with an overview of various existing approaches, and propose recommendations on how to make all tax systems better.
Because, to paraphrase Adam Smith’s words, “easy taxes” are one of the pre-requisites for a successful state. And who would not want our countries to be just that?
Edited by European Affairs Manager Carmen Descamps
From a European point of view, one of the most relevant citizens’ rights in 2019 was the right to vote and to stand as a candidate during the European Parliament elections. Whilst not the only example of the application of citizenship rights, European elections underline the relevance of such rights for citizens of the Union. The existence of EU citizenship might be undisputed, but we must ask ourselves: do we really know what European citizenship is and do we make the best use of our rights? In 2018, seven out of ten Europeans felt that they were citizens of the European Union, yet only a slight majority knew about their citizenship rights and one third would have liked to know more. The knowledge is there, but it needs to be shared and applied.
With contributions from experts from academia, think tanks and politics, this publication sheds light on the rights and opportunities of EU citizenship. It bridges the gap between knowledge and application by presenting a number of concrete issues and perspectives around EU citizenship. The publication also offers solutions to foster an active European citizenry, which is vital for the functioning of European democracy. “To be or not to be – EU citizenship” is of relevance for academics, activists, policy-makers and decision-makers alike.
Enjoy the read!