Information warfare in the internet

In the twenty-first century of hyperconnectivity, ínformation warfare has become one of the principal battlefields, where conflicts can be less about whose army wins than whose story wins. It poses a serious challenge to the United States and its European allies, primarily the “frontline states” such as Poland, the Baltic states, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Moldova and Ukraine. A plethora of mechanisms is used to promote conspiratorial discourse, pollute the information space, increase polarisation and undermine democratic debate. 

PSSI, together with think tanks from Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, and Ukraine is involved in a project devoted to gaining a better understanding of the pro-Kremlin disinformation in Central and Eastern Europe. It is focused on monitoring online media, searching for common patterns and key subjects undergoing manipulation. The goal is to capture similarities and differences in disinformation strategies tailored at individual countries participating in the project. Conclusions from comparative research, as well as recommendations how to counter propaganda, will be presented in a report distributed to decision-makers from the region, the EU, and NATO.

In late June 2017, the publication "Information warfare in the Internet: Countering Pro-Kremlin Disinformation in the CEE Countries" has been released by six think tanks from the Czech Republic (Prague Security Studies Institute), Hungary (Centre for Euro-Atlantic Integration and Democracy), Moldova (Asociatia Presei Independente), Poland (Centre for International Relations), Slovakia (Slovak Foreign Policy Association, and Ukraine ( Ukraine) in the framework of the project co-financed with the International Visegrad Fund and led by the Centre for International Relations.

Recommendations such as teaching children to distinguish fake news from the real ones as early as at primary school; naming & shaming the authors of disinformation stories; regular meetings between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defence with journalists so as to expose disinformation strategies used against the government offices; as well as raising public awareness via public media about pro-Kremlin disinformation techniques, are drafted in the report which is available in the right column. Czech translation of the original report is also available.

Dates of implementation: July 2016 – June 2017