Progressive Groups Ask POTUS to Form Disinformation Task Force

A coalition of progressive organizations have called upon President Joe Biden to form a task force to combat disinformation and fake news.

Photo by Jim Watson – POOL/Getty Images

Pen America, Voto Latino, Common Cause, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Access Now, SimplySecure, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for American Progress, and Free Press were all signatories on a letter to the president obtained exclusively by Axios

“We are writing as a coalition of human rights, free speech, democracy, and technology organizations to urge the creation of a federal interagency Disinformation Defense and Free Expression Task Force with domestic policy leadership,” they wrote.

“As we think about the next four years, we are keenly aware of the challenge the rampant spread of disinformation poses to our nation. The prevalence of deceptions, propaganda, and conspiracy theories related to the 2020 election, COVID-19, and the recent Capitol insurrection illustrates the clear and present threat that disinformation poses to our democracy and national security,” the letter continues. “However, we are equally mindful that solutions adopted in moments of crisis can themselves pose significant dangers to our fundamental freedoms. As Justice Brandeis once wrote, ‘fear breeds repression [and] courage is the secret to liberty.'”

The groups stressed the importance of propagating truth and urged the president to check fake news in ways that do not hamper free speech rights.

“We know that fighting disinformation also means remaining vigilant against censorship and other threats to free expression,” Matt Bailey, director of Pen America’s Digital Freedom Program, told Axios. “We also know that disinformation itself is a profound threat to free speech, because it prevents the robust exchange of ideas and sows distrust and polarization.”

The full letter is available here.

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