(Washington) After a historic $787.5 million settlement announced Tuesday, new legal concerns loom for Fox News: a disinformation expert, victim of a torrent of online threats, wants to sue the favorite channel of conservatives in the United States.

“It was a bit like being buried alive,” Nina Jankowicz, who has advised foreign states and written two books on disinformation, said of the harassment campaign in an interview with AFP. .

Last year, the expert was appointed to head the newly created Disinformation Governance Council, an official US body tasked with combating untruths that could be seen as threats to homeland security.

But from its inception, the project was pilloried on all sides: conservatives called it the “Ministry of Truth,” a reference to George Orwell’s 1984 book, while civil liberties have seen as a vehicle for state censorship, as various countries around the world use anti-“fake news” laws to suppress their critics.

Only weeks after the Council was established, Nina Jankowicz resigned and the organization, affiliated with the Department of Homeland Security, was disbanded within months.

The 34-year-old expert hasn’t escaped the crosshairs of Fox News anchors, who have called her a “conspiracy theorist” and a “useful idiot” of the Biden administration who “concocts misinformation”.

With her resignation, an avalanche of death threats and rape fell on her, explains Nina Jankowicz, who expresses her disappointment with the state, which has failed to protect her.

And the expert, who hopes to file a complaint next month against the chain, is not the only one in this case.

Fox News, the crown jewel of media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, agreed on Tuesday to pay $787.5 million to end the suit against Dominion Voting Systems.

This electronic voting machine company accused the chain of having uttered lies on the air on the sidelines of the 2020 presidential election, claiming that the company had rigged the results in favor of Joe Biden against Donald Trump.

Ahead of a lawsuit against Dominion that will ultimately not take place, a staggering amount of backlash has been reported by US media showing that senior Fox News officials were willing to spread untruths about the election. for fear of losing their audience in favor of competing channels, deemed potentially more loyal to Donald Trump.

According to Nina Jankowicz, the agreement is “a victory for the truth”.

“But that doesn’t solve the problem that individuals like me face, which is that getting justice for the lies told about us is expensive and inaccessible if you’re not backed by an investment fund,” he said. she.

“What’s stopping Fox and others from going after ‘soft’ targets if there’s no deterrent effect? asks the expert, now vice-president of the NGO Center for information resilience.

Its online fundraising campaign to sue the group has so far raised half of its $100,000 goal.

“Fox News irrevocably changed my life when they fed their tens of millions of viewers lies about me,” Nina Jankowicz points out in a video accompanying her fundraising page.

She was mocked on-air by Fox News anchors by airing one of her TikTok videos from 2021, in which she adapts a Mary Poppins song to talk about misinformation.

One of the channel’s commenters described her as “crazy”.

“Tens of thousands of people have harassed me online, hundreds have violently threatened me,” laments the expert.

Fox News, contacted by AFP, declined to comment.

His complaint should be added to the other legal torments of the chain. She also faces a defamation suit from Smartmatic, another electronic voting service company, which is seeking $2.7 billion.