The administration of President Gabriel Boric is facing criticism after creating an Advisory Commission to fight against misinformation. The initiative was published on June 20 in the Official Diary. But oppositions said this commission is a threat to democracy.
The Boric administration created an Advisory Commission by decree to combat misinformation on June 20. The order saw a wave of opposition from opposition parties. Critics also said there was a lack of discussion regarding the establishment of the commission.
The Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge, and Innovation will lead the commission, and its members will be made up of academics, investigators from private and state universities, representatives from the civil society and from fact-checking organizations, Boric said.
The members will “analyze and evaluate the global phenomenon of disinformation on digital platforms, its manifestation in Chile, and its impact in the democratic process,” government spokesperson Camila Vallejo said in a tweet on June 20.
La creación de una Comisión Asesora en Contra de la Desinformación pone a Chile en la vanguardia de un desafío a nivel global que impacta nuestras democracias transversalmente.
Pero, ¿en qué consiste esta Comisión? ¿Y por qué es importante el trabajo que realizará? 👇🧵 pic.twitter.com/1MYSEWZu8F
— Camila Vallejo Dowling (@camila_vallejo) June 20, 2023
The commission, however, came with backlashes from opposition parties. Ximena Rincón, a senator for the Maule region and a democrat, said that the administration’s action should be discussed with Congress, which is the governmental body that represents democracy, Rincón tweeted on June 21.
“Selecting a group of people who favor the current government, to decide how to exercise these freedoms, is openly restrictive,” said Rincón.
Camila Flores is a deputy of the Chamber of Deputies and a member of the National Renewal political party. Flores said it is worrying that the Boric administration looks to institutional mechanisms to determine what is true and what’s not.
The commission will undermine a fundamental right, which is the freedom of expression, and also poses a threat to a free press, said Luciano Cruz-Coke, senator for Evópoli. “We will reach all the necessary instances, including the Constitucional Court, precisely to safeguard and protect those basic rights of a democracy,” Cruz-Coke said.
Chongyang Zhang is pursuing an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s program in journalism, media and globalisation. His interest lies in the relations among the United States, Latin America and China. He is currently doing an exchange semester at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.