Spanish government accused of setting up a 'Ministry of Truth'

File photo of ministers and officials inside the La Moncloa last summer.
File photo of ministers and officials inside the La Moncloa last summer. / EP
  • Ministers will run a commission to investigate the source of fake news and write a national strategy to combat it

The government's plans for a commission to monitor the spread of 'fake news' has been met with criticism and ridicule from opposition parties, who have accused ministers of wanting to censor the news.

According to an official statement from the prime minister's office, "truthful and varied" information is at risk due to the "deliberate and systematic diffusion, on a large scale" of fake news that aims to influence society "with self-centred and spurious aims". It goes on to say that, for this reason, "greater coordination is needed that matches our democratic values and confronts the risks for an open society".

As objectives, the government plans sets out to investigate ways to act against fake news, to create an "ad hoc" working group to draw up a national strategy and identify the main players in the distribution of fake news.

As a result, a Permanent Commission Against Disinformation is being set up, involving top ministers and officials. It will be led by the National Security department, which reports directly to PM Pedro Sánchez's office at La Moncloa palace in Madrid.

"It's a complete scandal. The government has taken upon itself to decide when news is true or false. Are they going to censor news that they don't like?" said PP Communications spokesperson and Malaga MP, Pablo Montesinos.

Far-right Vox went further, and accused the government of setting up a "Ministry of Truth".