Lithuanian foreign minister: EU faces disinformation threat amid coronavirus crisis

  • 2020-03-23
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius says the European Union is experiencing a growing threat of disinformation in the face of the coronavirus crisis. 

According to Linkevicius, EU foreign ministers discussed this issue at their informal meeting on Monday. 

"Amid all this turmoil, another challenge arises: disinformation. It was noted by many ministers," he told BNS. 

The EU has warned this month that Russia's state-controlled media are carrying out a disinformation campaign about the coronavirus in Western countries with the aim of aggravating the public health crisis in the West and undermining public trust in the healthcare system.

Internet sites were hacked last week to post a fake news story alleging that US troops would participate in an exercise in Lithuania, ignoring the risk of coronavirus. The story was also circulated by email. 

In late January, a fake news story claiming that a US military serviceman had contracted the coronavirus in Lithuania was posted by hackers on several news websites and emailed to some state institutions.

According to Linkevicius, EU foreign ministers also discussed cooperation in repatriating EU citizens from distant countries, such as the Philippines, Peru and Australia, and underlined the need to ensure the free movement of goods, especially food and medical products, within the bloc.