The pandemic brought on a host of problems; however, it also gave us the opportunity to pay more attention to other issues that flew under the radar while we were busy getting through our hectic pre-pandemic schedules. One of these concerns is the dominance of misinformation or “fake news.” Well, Sweden has decided to take matters into its own hands by creating an agency focused on combatting the widespread problem of disinformation.
The agency, called the Swedish Psychological Defense Agency, started up on the first day of the new year, and its mission is to “defend our open democratic society and free opinions by identifying, analyzing, and responding to inappropriate influences and other misleading information directed at Sweden or Swedish interests.”
It’s made up of different departments that “identify, analyze, and respond to the impact of undue information influence and other misleading information,” and “to develop and strengthen society’s overall capacity for psychological defense.”
The government authority “will provide support to the population, agencies, municipalities, the media, voluntary defense organizations, and civil society in general, as well as working for increased coordination between these actors,” but did not name any entities it suspects of spreading disinformation.
There are plenty of initiatives worldwide that are focused on stopping the proliferation of misinformation, including policies that target climate misinformation on social media platforms and mandatory high school courses surrounding media literacy.