May 25, 2017

Discussion on the Role of Media and Journalists in Strengthening National Resilience


On 25 May, International Centre for Defence and Security and NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence organised jointly an international discussion with experts and journalists which addressed the issue of (a new) media and its audiences under actual hybrid threats. Over the past 5-6 years, we have been observing a global shift of traditional media into the digital sphere alongside the many challenges associated with that. This new environment creates unprecedented flows of information accelerated by growing usage of social media. Intensive commercialisation and globalisation make it hard for responsible media sources to remain non-partisan, independent and competitive on the market. At the same time, Russia has started to use manipulatively government-aligned media channels as a tool to achieve its aggressive goals of foreign policy.

First panel discussion focused on media consumption and responsibility in an era of hybrid threats. The discussion was moderated by Dmitri Teperik, ICDS Chief Executive, and invited experts – Iivi Anna Masso, political analyst; Liis Lipre-Järma, strategic communication adviser at the Government Office of Estonia; and Artur Aukon, experienced journalist and news editor – discussed the following questions:
• Are hybrid threats changing the nature of media itself?
• To what extent national channels and outlets are able to keep their independent and balanced position if they themselves are sometimes entangled or confused in a new rapidly developing situation and by information manipulations?
• How quality journalism is orientating itself in information fog? Is media consumer equally responsible for quality and literacy as media producer?
• What is the role of governmental institutions and civil society in this situation?
• Are we at the moment of inception of new type of media?
Experts on the second panel discussion presented strategies and tactics of information manipulation by Russian media journalists and editors. The discussion was moderated by Vineta Mekone, senior expert at NATO Strategic Communication Centre of Excellence, and attended by Petri Korhonen, experienced journalist from Finland; Grigory Kuznetsov, experienced journalist from Ukraine, and Nika Aleksejeva, digital forensics researcher at Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. The experts concluded that many governments have faced audience manipulation on different scale. This has prompted some governments to focus more on media literacy for younger generations and expert communities to concentrate on issues of information manipulation, fake news etc.
The event finished with the presentation of a new book “Hybrid Russian Aggression: Lessons for Europe” by political analyst Yevhen Mahda from Ukraine. His new book is devoted to the vitally important and topical problem for Europe – hybrid aggression from Russia. The book is informative and insightful study of Russian aggression, which explains its causes, describes the features of the hybrid war against Ukraine, gives a clear analysis of what is actually happening and discusses some countermeasures.

Read more about the event:
Blog in English War and Noise: Russia, Alternative Facts, and Open Societies by Maxime Lebrun, ICDS non-resident research fellow
Article in Russian „Как не стать «полезными идиотами» Кремля: стратегия медиавойн“ by Rita Bolotskaya, journalist of UkrInform