High-level Public Diplomacy Forum kicks off NATO Week in Georgia

  • 10 Apr. 2017 - 11 Apr. 2017
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  • Last updated: 12 Apr. 2017 10:02

Current security challenges and how effective public diplomacy can contribute to addressing them were the main focus of the Public Diplomacy Forum in Tbilisi on 10-11 April. Discussions covered a range of topics including hybrid warfare, strategies to counter propaganda, strategic communications and the role of social media.

The Forum was opened by Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili and NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Ambassador Tacan Ildem. Both stressed the importance of ensuring that publics in NATO member states and partner countries are provided with accurate information from free media, pointing to the challenges all countries face from the spread of fake news and disinformation.

"Security and information are interconnected," said Ambassador Ildem. “Allies and partners are targets of an information war waged by Russia. We have to respond, but certainly not with the same tools. NATO does not counter propaganda with propaganda. We do so with facts and confidence in our values. We actively counter fake news on social media, engage with media to correct false news stories, and work to ensure that all of our activities, exercises, and operations are conducted in an open and transparent manner."

This was the second Public Diplomacy Forum to be organised in Georgia with the support of NATO. International experts, journalists and policy makers participated in the flagship event of this year’s ‘NATO Days’ – a week of activities organised across the country to raise awareness of Georgia’s relations with NATO and highlight important areas of cooperation.