Lawmakers call for tougher EU disinformation laws in wake of US riots (EURAKTIV) (auch auf deutsch)

By Samuel Stolton with Philipp Grüll 

Full article

Artikel auf deutsch

„But even on mainstream platforms, acts of violence had been openly advocated. In a TikTok video, one Trump supporter asked his fellows to bring their guns to the protests.

For that reason, the escalation in violence could have hardly come as a surprise to US authorities, says Alexander Ritzmann, a consultant to the European Commissions Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) and advisor to the Counter Extremism Project (CEP).

“They must have known,” Ritzmann told EURACTIV Germany. According to public FBI documents, the Bureau has been closely following the activities of online groups such as QAnon, a loose collective of conspiracy theorists who believe Donald Trump is their only saviour from the villains among Washington’s “elite”.

The FBI considers QAnon and other “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists” as a terrorist threat.

In Brussels, lawmakers are finalising a regulation on terrorist content online (TCO). Among other things, it will introduce a stricter notice-and-action-system which will force platforms to delete terrorist content within an hour of notification.

However, Ritzmann believes that any system relying on notice-and-action cannot be sufficient as long as platforms can lean back and wait until users or authorities ask them to act.“

Video: „The Financing of Right-wing and Ethnically or Racially Motivated Terrorism“

Virtual Side Event: „The Financing of Right-wing and Ethnically or Racially Motivated Terrorism“, 07.12.2020

“Violent Right-Wing Extremism and Terrorism – Transnational Connectivity, Definitions, Incidents, Structures and Countermeasures” (CEP-Study)

On the 7th of December 2020, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) hosted a virtual side event, co-sponsored by Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States. The event was opened by short statements of each of the co-sponsoring governments highlighting the threat emanating from the financing of right-wing and racially and ethnically motivated terrorism. The main discussion of the event was grouped into two panels.

During the first panel, CEP, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and the Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX) at the University of Oslo discussed the current threat landscape emanating from the financial activities of right-wing and racially or ethnically motivated terrorists. During this panel, CEP presented the relevant research findings of its recent report entitled “Violent Right-Wing Extremism and Terrorism – Transnational Connectivity, Definitions, Incidents, Structures and Countermeasures”, which was commissioned by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

During the second panel, representatives from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) outlined ongoing mitigation measures as well as the potential for joint and multilateral actions to counter this threat. The side event concluded with a presentation by the German Federal Ministry of Finance, summarizing the deliberations and highlighting a range of suggestions for further action.

“Violent Right-Wing Extremism and Terrorism – Transnational Connectivity, Definitions, Incidents, Structures and Countermeasures” (CEP-Study)

Counter Extremism Project (CEP), November 2020


This study focuses on the transnational connections of the violent extreme right-wing milieus in six countries: Finland, France, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States. It was commissioned by the German Federal Foreign Office, Division “International Cooperation against Terrorism, Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime and Corruption”, in 2020.

„Gewaltorientierter Rechtsextremismus und Terrorismus – Transnationale Konnektivität, Definitionen, Vorfälle, Strukturen und Gegenmaßnahmen“ (CEP-Studie)

Counter Extremism Project (CEP), November 2020


Diese Studie befasst sich mit den transnationalen Verbindungen der gewaltorientierten rechtsextremen Milieus in sechs Ländern: Finnland, Frankreich, Deutschland, Schweden, Vereinigtes Königreich und den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika. Sie wurde vom Referat „Internationale Zusammenarbeit gegen Terrorismus, Drogenhandel, organisierte Kriminalität und Drogenhandel” des Auswärtigen Amts in Auftrag gegeben.


RAN expert online- meeting, 28 September 2020

Das Papier kann hier heruntergeladen werden

Von Alexander Ritzmann und Maximilian Ruf

„Verschwörungstheorien setzen auf Narrative, die pseudowissenschaftlich sind oder gar eine Leugnung wissenschaftlicher Fakten darstellen, und sollten daher eher als Verschwörungsmythen bezeichnet werden. Sie zählen zu den größten Herausforderungen in der Arbeit zur Prävention und Bekämpfung von gewaltbereitem Extremismus (P/CVE) in Europa, da sie zentral für extremistisches Gedankengut sind und auch eine Schlüsselrolle bei Radikalisierung und Anwerbung spielen. P/CVEMaßnahmen können nur dann effizient geplant werden, wenn ein Grundverständnis dafür vorhanden ist, welche Narrative eine Gefahr für die Menschen, die sie glauben, und in Folge auch für die
Gesellschaft, in der sie leben, darstellen. Eindeutige Indikatoren lassen sich nur schwer definieren.
Vielmehr sollten es PraktikerInnen als Alarmzeichen werten, wenn eine Person die drei folgenden zentralen Narrative in Kombination vertritt:
1) Wir gegen sie: „Wir sind überlegen und im alleinigen Besitz der Wahrheit!“
2) Sie gegen uns: „Wir sind die Opfer der Machenschaften dunkler Mächte!“
3) Die Postulierung einer apokalyptischen Dimension: „Wir befinden uns in einer existenziellen Notlage, die den Einsatz von Gewalt rechtfertigt!““

Harmful conspiracy myths and effective P/CVE countermeasures

RAN expert online-meeting, 28 September 2020

Download the paper here

By Alexander Ritzmann and Maximilian Ruf

„Conspiracy theories, which should rather be called conspiracy myths due to their anti- or pseudoscientific narratives, continue to pose a key challenge for the prevention and countering of violent extremism (P/CVE) in Europe, since they play vital roles within extremist ideologies and recruitment and radicalisation.

In order to efficiently plan P/CVE interventions, it is necessary to understand which conspiratorial narratives could constitute a danger to the individuals believing in them and, by extension, to society. Fixed indicators are difficult to define, but three main types of narratives, when believed in combination, may help practitioners identify if a person is on a potentially dangerous path:

  1. Us vs Them: “We are superior, only we know the truth!”
  2. Them vs Us: “We are victims, we are being threatened by evil forces!”
  3. Apocalyptic dimension: “The threat to us is existential, hence violence is legitimate!”“

Presentation (Video): Guidelines for effective alternative or counter narratives (Gammma+)

The GAMMMA+ model combines key elements and lessons learned from  Communication & Narratives (C&N) working group of the European Commission’s  Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN).  The model aims to help practitioners to increase the impact of their communications campaigns, be it online and offline. Alexander Ritzmann (RAN C&N co-chair |Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security (BIGS)) and Lieke Wouterse (RAN Staff) presented the webinar on the GAMMMA+ model.

Link to the presentation 

Link to the GAMMMA+ paper

Effective Narratives: Updating the GAMMMA+ model (EU RAN)

Authored by Alexander Ritzmann, Lieke Wouterse and Merle Verdegaal

The RAN Communication and Narratives working group (RAN C&N) has
promoted the GAMMMA+ model since December 2017 as a practical
guideline for carrying out effective alternative and counter narrative (AN
/CN) campaigns. Since then, the GAMMMA+ model has served
practitioners from all over the European Union as a tool when planning
and implementing communications campaigns. After two years and based
on feedback and insights from practitioners at the RAN C&N Academy in
November 2019, it is time to update the model in the format of this expost paper.

EU RAN: Involving young people in counter and alternative narratives – why involve peers?

Radicalisation Awareness Network, Alexander Ritzmann

When working in multicultural teams, creating trusting
relationships is key. Policy-makers and civil society
organisations (CSOs) often share goals. But they might have
quite different procedures, approaches and perspectives,
and therefore ‘cultures’. Young people, an important part
of civil society, want and need to be empowered to become
more active members of communities preventing and
countering violent extremism (P/CVE). They can provide
perspectives, insights and a ‘spirit’ that most established
organisations will struggle to create without them.
This paper presents some of the key challenges and
opportunities identified at the policy and practice event on
cooperation between young people and policy-makers. It
also suggests concrete steps for building trusting
partnerships and effective multicultural teams.