Cabinet to lobby Brussels to abolish ‘fake news’ watchdog

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Dutch politicians are to call for the EU to take down its website for monitoring ‘fake news’, arguing that government agencies should not police freedom of speech.

Interior minister Kajsa Ollongren initially supported the EUvsDisinfo bureau, but backed down after a majority of MPs backed a motion in parliament last week urging the government to lobby for its abolition.

In recent months the website has withdrawn accusations of distributing fake news against three Dutch organisations – local newspaper De Gelderlander, shock blog GeenStijl and online comment site The Post Online.

Ollongren said last year that the Dutch government wanted to work with internet firms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google to combat the spread of fake news amid concern that election campaigns and public opinion on issues such as the MH17 disaster were being distorted by deliberate misinformation.