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Governments Countering Disinformation: The Case of Germany

Germany was among the first countries to introduce a law against fake news. But the controversial Network Enforcement Act is far from the only German initiative against disinformation and foreign influence. To understand German concerns about propaganda and disinformation, the so-called “Lisa case” is a good place to start. In January 2016 a Russian-German girl named Lisa claimed to have been raped by a group of immigrants in Berlin. This story came out just a few weeks after New Year’s Eve, where a series of sex violations had taken place in Cologne and other cities. Her story immediately went viral and sparked anti-migrant protests by Russians living in Germany. Eventually, however, the German police stated in a press release that Lisa’s story was false. Ignoring this statement, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov proclaimed that German authorities had concealed the actual events and failed to protect “our Lisa.” Responding to these accusations, Germany’s then Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called out Lavrov’s claims as “political…
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