BRUSSELS - Political parties and Internet platforms including Facebook, Google, Snapchat and TikTok agree on voluntary rules for Dutch parliamentary elections in a Code of Conduct, the first of its kind in the European Union as countries grapple with issues of election transparency and disinformation in the digital sphere.
In the run-up to Dutch legislative elections taking place on 17 March, 11 out of 13 parliamentary parties and global online platforms (Facebook, Google, Snapchat, TikTok) have made transparency commitments regarding online political advertisements during election campaigns.
Following a request by the Dutch Ministry of the Interior, the drafting process and negotiations of the Code of Conduct were led by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA). The Stockholm-based International IDEA is an intergovernmental organization supporting democracy world-wide with expertise on ICT in elections.
Under the “Netherlands Code of Conduct Transparency Online Political Advertisements”, signatories agree to be transparent about the sender, costs and reach of advertisements during the election campaign. Political parties promise not to post misleading messages or accept foreign funding for advertising.
The online platforms agree to acknowledge a responsibility in maintaining the integrity of elections and avoid dissemination of misleading content and messages inciting violence or hate speech on their platforms. They commit to making key data on online political advertising available publicly and help avoiding foreign interference in elections by banning political advertisements from outside the European Union. They commit to putting in place a user-friendly response mechanism to answer questions or solve problems related to the Dutch elections.
The Dutch political parties that have endorsed the Code of Conduct include CDA, ChristenUnie, DENK, D66, GroenLinks, PvdA, PvdD, SGP, SP, VVD and 50PLUS.
"The Code of Conduct is widely supported and shows a strong common will to safeguard the integrity of elections in the online sphere,” says Sam van der Staak, Head of Europe at International IDEA. “We hope that political parties and internet platforms in other countries will follow the example to complement European and national legislative frameworks."
"The good relationships that internet platforms generally have with the Dutch authorities, political parties and other platforms become visible to the general public through this Code of Conduct.”
As from 9 February, the Code of Conduct is open for endorsement to all 37 political parties registered for the Dutch elections, which also includes those that are not yet represented in the House of Representatives. Other online platforms are also welcome to join.
Code of Conduct:
An English translation of the Dutch Code of Conduct Transparency Online Political Advertisements by International IDEA is available as a PDF. Please refer to the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations’ website for the official (Dutch) text of the Code of Conduct, see via this link .
Availability for interviews:
Sam van der Staak, Head of Europe, International IDEA
Anne van Pinxteren, Spokesperson Minister K.H. Ollongren, Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
Sam van der Staak, Head Europe, International IDEA, S.vanderStaak@idea.int, +31 (0) 6 15 61 30 64
Anne van Pinxteren, Spokesperson Minister K.H. Ollongren, Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, +31 (0)6 11 75 35 83
Peter Wolf, Senior Expert on ICT and Democracy, P.Wolf@idea.int, +46 70 429 37 56
Marilyn Neven, Programme Manager, International IDEA, M.Neven@idea.int, +32 485 50 88 53
Alistair Scrutton, Head of Communications, International IDEA, A.Scrutton@idea.int, +46 707 211098
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) is an intergovernmental organization with the mandate to support and advance democracy worldwide. International IDEA contributes to the public debate on democracy and assists in strengthening process, reforms, institutions and actors that build, advance and safeguard democracy, with a focus on electoral processes; constitution-building processes; and political participation and representation. Mainstreamed across all our work are gender and inclusion, conflict sensitivity and sustainable development.
International IDEA has global experience in the field of electoral processes and is a key partner of the European Union on international electoral support. More information on our work in the field of ICT, elections and democracy and related knowledge resources can be consulted via this link .