This is the first time Portugal’s members of parliament address this issue, since the fake news phenomenon sparked growing awareness during the UK’s Brexit referendum, allegedly influenced by disinformation.

The initiative came from the PS, which has scheduled a two-hour debate on “Tackling misinformation to defend democracy”.

Portugal has not yet produced any legislation on this issue, but there have been several initiatives on media literacy.

The socialist’s proposal suggests more cybersecurity measures at elections equipment to prevent any external interference.

Fake news, aka false news, misinformation or disinformation serving political or other purposes sparked growing awareness during the US presidential elections (won by Donald Trump), the UK’s Brexit referendum and, more recently, Brazil’s presidential elections (won by the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro).

Warning bells have been ringing in Europe due to the proximity of the European elections. Both the European Parliament and the European Commission took action in 2018.

On October 25, the European Parliament approved a resolution calling upon all Member States to “adapt the electoral rules on online campaigning”, while the European Commission released a code identifying best practices envisaging an agreement with several online platforms.