Korcok: Fight Against Fake News Can’t Fall to Foreign Ministry Alone

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New Foreign and European Affairs Minister Ivan Korcok at a press conference following his appointment to the post on April 8, 2020 (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, April 8 (TASR) – The task of combating the dissemination of disinformation and conspiracy theories can’t rest solely on the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry, but the collaboration must be held among several ministries, new chief of Slovak diplomacy Ivan Korcok (a Freedom and Solidarity/SaS nominee) declared at a press conference following his appointment to the post on Wednesday.

Korcok emphasised that maintaining the clear foreign affairs orientation of Slovakia remains his top priority and disavowed any notions that the country should serve as a bridge between the East and West as a dangerous myth.

Even in the current extreme pandemic situation, Slovakia is an “El Dorado” for conspiracy theorists, who voluntarily mislead the public, tout tawdry solutions and sow doubts as to whether it’s worth continuing to forge a joint future within the EU, said Korcok.

“However, we [the Foreign Ministry] stand no chance against the conspiracy theorists unless this becomes a resonant political theme for everyone who believes in democracy and all of us engage in active [counter-]communication,” he stated. He added that even in the current crisis there are disinformation webs that spew lies and purpose-built hoaxes.

Korcok believes that the fight against conspiracy theorists should be anchored also in the Government Manifesto. Another great priority for the new minister is to set right the skewed perception of the EU, which doesn’t really reflect reality. To that end, the ministry launched a section of its website to inform the public on the EU’s activities.

As for the division of responsibilities, Foreign Ministry State Secretary Martin Klus will be assigned the European agenda, whereas Second State Secretary Ingrid Brockova, a former Slovak ambassador to the OECD, will have the agenda of economic diplomacy and international organisations under her purview.

Earlier in the day, President Zuzana Caputova appointed Korcok as the new Foreign and European Affairs Minister. Korcok previously served as Slovak ambassador to the United States and he took over the post following the mandatory 14-day quarantine in the wake of his return from America. In the meantime, the ministry was headed by Economy Minister and Vice-premier Richard Sulik (SaS).