On July 8 in Mariupol the Center for Public Diplomacy – in compliance with all quarantine security measures and in cooperation with the Center for Baltic-Black Sea Studies – held the second workshop «Disinformation as an instrument of hybrid warfare: aspects of its spread and possibilities to counter propaganda» for representatives of local authorities, public sector and mass media.
Five public events in the East and South of Ukraine are envisaged by the project «Information wars against Ukraine and other European countries: Lithuania’s experience in tackling propaganda» that is implemented by the CPD in cooperation with the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine and funded under the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania.
Dr. Nerijus Maliukevičius, expert on information security, lecturer and researcher at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science of the Vilnius University has shared Lithuania’s experience in tackling Russian propaganda:
- The Kremlin is using Western media for its propaganda. In particular, in the Baltic states Russian channels are broadcasting under the jurisdiction of Britain. I call this phenomenon «media offshores».
- NTV Mir Baltiya, REN TV Baltic, Pervyi baltiyskiy muzykalnyi kanal are the Russian channels representing themselves as the British ones. These and 2 more channels are under surveillance of the Baltic Media Alliance that has only 1 employee in London and which registered address is the official address of around 60 different companies.
- The Russian state RTR channel is broadcasting in Lithuania as a Swedish channel. It’s understood that it was Russia but not Sweden that used the hate language via the RTR during the war in Georgia or Ukraine.
- Today’s Russia is using visual illusion as a principle in media space. If the artist René Magritte used an optical illusion as an artistic device having drawn a pipe and signed the picture «it is not a pipe», Russia, on the other hand, denies that the Russian soldiers are in the photo with the Russian soldiers:
- When the Soviet Union was collapsing, authorities looked for the «healer» for the multimillion community. Such person was found – it was Kashpirovskiy that was broadcasted by the USSR state channels. Today Solovyov, Kiselyov, Leontiev and others are playing the role of «healer» in Russia. Kashpirovskiy and Solovyov even look very much alike:
- The hate language leads to the real war. But Lithuania cannot apply domestic laws in relation to the Russian channels broadcasting under the jurisdiction of Britain and Sweden. Only via the European directives.
- Information security measures are often got confused with an attempt to violate the freedom of speech. It’s necessary to remind our Western colleagues: just what we are doing in regard to information security, we’ve already done in relation to energy security.
In her turn, Natalka Sad, expert on communications, board member of the Center for Public Diplomacy has explained why people are manipulated and deceived by fake news and disinformation:
- Daily average time spent online of an average inhabitant of the Earth – 6 hours 43 min. Source: Digital in 2020. We spend too much time online to have our brains think critically non-stop.
- We tend to identify information as truthful if we heard it several times. This is called the illusion of truth. Source: research of Temple University and Villanova University, 1977.
- Every time when we open social media, we see the information that has been already selected for us by Facebook, Google or YouTube according to our previous likes, reposts and comments. This is called an information bubble.
- If the fake got in our information bubble our information space will be «broken» by disinformation.
- Fake news may distort the past and memories. 27% of people believe in invented stories. Source: research of Slate’s journalists, 2010.
- Fakes travel 6 times faster than the truth. Truth cannot compete with fake news. Source: Science research.
- People easily accept an offer to create fakes for money. Source: Fortune’s experiment.
- Media carry out «hard» experiments trying to preserve the audience’s loyalty to them. This means that it’s becoming more and more difficult for people to distinguish truth from lie while the media hype. Source: MC. Today’s experiment concerning the Starbucks’ opening in Ukraine.
- Every 8th Ukrainian watches Russian TV channels. Source: Internews Network, 2019.
- It’s possible to give reasons almost for everything. The main task is to choose the information based on facts rather than the information based on interpretation of facts.
Also, among the event speakers were:
Andrii Vitrenko, chair of the Center for Public Diplomacy, Vice Minister of Culture for European Integration (2014-2016);
Prof. Kostyantyn Balabanov, Rector of Mariupol State University, Consul Honorary of Republic of Cyprus in Mariupol;
Prof. Mykola Trofymenko, Advisor to the Chairman of the Donetsk Regional State Administration, Vice Rector for International Relations of Mariupol State University;
Dr. Sergii Pakhomenko, head of the Center for Baltic-Black Sea Studies of Mariupol State University (MSU), MSU Associate Professor, Visiting Researcher at the University of Latvia;
Kateryna Smagliy, head of the Department for International Cooperation and Communications of the Hennadii Udovenko Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine;
Iryna Zhovta, chief specialist of the European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Division of the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine
Vitalii Moroz, expert on information wars and information security, head of new media at «Internews Ukraine».
You’ll find more key points of our experts’ speeches in our further messages and in our Twitter: @CPD_UA.