GSMA’s Views on the European Democracy Action Plan


Europe’s telecoms industry recommends the European Commission urgently fix systemic weaknesses in internet governance and responsibility and restore public trust by updating the European Democracy Action Plan.

Disinformation has had dangerous consequences for the telecoms sector and the vital connectivity it provides to European governments, businesses and society. Since March 2020, for example, disinformation and misinformation falsely linking 5G communications technology to COVID-19 has led to about 200 indiscriminate arson attacks on telecoms base stations and antennae across 11 European countries, and even more incidents of harassment against front line workers.

Europe’s economic recovery and climate targets depend on the revolutionary speed 5G provides. The Commission together with Member States must protect critical infrastructure and educate the public about safety protections embedded in the deployment of 5G in all EU countries.

Members of the GSMA support a co-regulator model on disinformation with the Commission and national authorities armed with meaningful powers to compel all online content sharing service providers to follow the EU Code of Practice on Disinformation. Transparency and clear, regular reporting are also urgently needed.

Additional key recommendations for content platforms:

  • Delisting/demotion of false or misleading claims;
  • Expeditious removal of any material which amounts to an incentive to commit acts of violence or vandalism;
  • Monitoring to ensure that identical instances of the same material are not re-uploaded by any user;
  • Measures to ensure that similar instances of the same material are not uploaded by the same user.
For more information please contact:

Maria Sotiriou

Manager EU Affairs, GSMA

Maria Sotiriou

Maria’s responsibilities at the GSMA include building a strategic outreach approach to achieve the association’s policy goals as they relate to the EU, in particular to the European Parliament. She monitors regulatory matters affecting the GSMA members in the areas of artificial intelligence, electronic evidence and illegal content online and facilitates developing public policy positions on the aforementioned topics. Maria coordinates the activities of the EMF & Health Operator Expert Group and the work around the annual EMF Forum. She also supports the events management, including the Mobile Meetings Series, the MEP delegation at MWC as well as the marketing activities.

Before joining the GSMA, Maria worked for the European Young Innovators Forum, where she managed the strategic partnerships with BNP Paribas, Huawei, Deutsche Bahn, MIT Technology Review, as well as the cooperation with the EU Institutions. Prior to this role, Maria worked for HM Government of Gibraltar Representation to the EU and the European Commission’s DG CONNECT. She also acquired work experience at the national government level (Embassy of France in Athens, Embassy of Greece in London).

Maria received an MSc in European Studies from the London School of Economics (LSE), after completing her studies in Conference Interpreting in Greece and having lived in several countries, namely the UK, France, Belgium and Turkey. Maria is a Greek native speaker with excellent language skills in English, French and Italian.

 Outside of the GSMA, Maria is leading the events team of the LSE Alumni Association Belgium.

Pierantonio Rizzo

Public Policy Manager, GSMA

Pierantonio Rizzo

Pierantonio Rizzo is a Public Policy Manager for the Policy & Regulatory Affairs team at GSMA Europe, working primarily on Consumer Protection, Platforms, Copyright and Cybersecurity issues. In his role, Pierantonio creates public affairs strategies for the membership and represents the GSMA towards the EU Institutions.

Prior to joining the GSMA in 2017, Pierantonio worked at the European Parliament, where he followed the workstream of the IMCO and AFET Committees. He began his career as an articled-clerk in an Italian law firm and then moved to Brussels to intern for Rohde Public Policy, a public affairs consultancy firm.

Pierantonio holds a Masters of European Affairs from the Catholic University of Paris and a LLM from the University of Bologna, during which he had an exchange program with the Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas. Pierantonio speaks Italian, English, French and is currently learning Spanish.