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There is no doubt that deliberate use of disinformation, conspiracy theories, hoaxes, and other manipulative content on the Internet represent a serious long-term threat for our democratic institutions and societies. The reason is simple. Disinformation manipulates open democratic debate, thus preventing citizens to make informed decisions. Foreign actors can exploit the inherent openness of our democracies to pursue their goals by manipulating public opinion, undermining our citizens’ trust towards our institutions and the democratic system itself and they can also influence outcomes of elections as we saw in the recent past.
Since 2014, Slovakia has been a frequent target of (mainly Russian) hostile information operations that mostly focused on undermining our geopolitical orientation, especially our membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and European Union (EU) which we consider as pillars of our foreign and security policy. But it is not just about Slovakia. Other European Union countries have a very similar experience, such as the Czech Republic, Poland, but also Hungary, Romania or Bulgaria. It is no coincidence that these are countries of Central and Eastern Europe, i.e. states of the former Soviet bloc. In the context of the continuing Russian aggression against Ukraine, we see even growing assertiveness of disinformation campaigns, trying to spread distrust and doubt, inciting instability, and not least weakening support for government’s policies at national and European levels…

English

Disinformation and conspiracy theories systematically threaten our European democracy. After the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian war against Ukraine has shown that the propaganda directed by an undemocratic Putin’s regime is more and more harmul. This prevents citizens from making informed decisions and undermines our foreign policy orientation, as well as the values of our society. And although the war in Ukraine has changed a lot in this regard, a significant part of EU citizens is still prone to easily succumb to massive disinformation campaigns. The aim of this text is to present how the institutions of the European Union, as well as the Government of the Slovak Republic and other official European or state authorities, are trying to reverse this negative trend and gradually expand the capacity to combat hybrid threats.

  • disinformation
  • democracy
  • social media
  • hybrid war
Martin Klus
Martin Klus est secrétaire d’État au ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes de la République slovaque et politologue. Avant d’entrer dans la politique slovaque, il a travaillé comme professeur d’université et analyste politique pour des médias nationaux et étrangers. De 2016 à 2020, il a été membre du Conseil national de la République slovaque. Il occupe son poste actuel depuis mars 2020. Il est le vice-ministre des Affaires européennes (GAC) et est responsable de la Conférence sur l’avenir de l’Europe au niveau national. Dans le cadre du renforcement de la résilience européenne, le concept de prospective stratégique de l’UE, il est nommé « ministre de l’avenir ».
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