Freedom of expression and information must be defended, not persecuted.

Freedom of expression and information must be defended, not persecuted.

Wednesday, 19/04/2023, 22:27 h.

A new case of information persecution: Rubén Gisbert Fraile has been charged with the crime of hate, due to "disinformation" on the Ucranian war. He is known for the statements he declared after visiting Donbas, such as: "After what I have seen [in Donbas], I want to say before the Spanish audience, that every Spanish should know that Spain and other countries are giving weapons to people who use them to kill civilians. I only demand the UN to issue an international observer mission in order to find out what is being done with the weapons we are sending".

"Disinformation" is a word currently used in a language war that disqualifies any information disagreeing with the official narrative. In order to persecute "disinformation", the European Union funds and promotes since 2020 the "European Digital Media Observatory" (EDMO) as its referent network of so-called "fact-checkers" and "desinformation fighting agencies". It audits information about three issues: COVID-19, climate change and the Ucranian war. Regarding the latter, EDMO considers "disinformation" any "questioning or damage against the public image" of Volodimir Zelensky's government, NATO, and the Western media through accusations of lies, corruption, "nazis", warmongering, armsrace and nuclear war risk. Other "disinformation" includes discussion of possible internal divisions of Zelensky's allies, and support of peace initiatives such as China's 12 point peace proposal ( ). EDMO has received 4 million euros from the E.U. in order to foster the following, among other measures: "ensure" tech companies eliminate "disinformation", construct monitoring systems that "captures the flows of disinformation", and develop "new ethical frameworks" for civil society and governments against "disinformation" ( ). Furthermore, it promotes the development of AI fact-checking services ( ).

Last month was the 50th anniversary of U.S. troops departure from Vietnam. Back then, the freedom of information guaranteed by Amendment I of the Constitution of the United States of America prevented the state from restricting the free flow of information. People could reach their own critically informed conclusions by contrasting the official narrative with other sources that revealed hidden facts or distorted official discourses. Thanks to the freedom of information, a majority of U.S. citizens demanded the withdrawal of the U.S. army and the removal of U.S. weapons from Vietnam. Currently, the censorship that prevails in the European Union, Russia and Ukraine impedes people to make a similar exercise of freedom of information and critical analysis. There is a E.U.'s manipulation campaign that has made inaccessible Russian media and proscribes any questioning of official discourses as "desinformation" in order to strenghten the official narrative. This is a violation of the Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers".

We, Pica Pica HackLab (PicaHack), denounce the information bias, manipulation, and censorship perniciously wielded by the states and mainstream media involved in the Ukraine-Russia-NATO war. To fight back we have organized our workshop "Free tools against information censorship", and we will keep on saying "Yes to peace. No to censorship."

We stand in solidarity with all the people persecuted for exerting the fundamental right to freedom of expression and information; we condemn censorship and the repression of information, and we forefully denounce, oppose and reject all the censorship policies proliferating since COVID-19. That is the case in Spain ( ), the European Union ( ), and all over the planet: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Malaysia, Singapore, France, Germany, Kenya, Russia, Ukraine, etc. The ban and persecution of freedom of information is the first step towards massive social manipulation and the establishment of repressive and liberticidal states.