How does NATO respond to disinformation?

  • 25 May. 2021 -
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  • Last updated: 27 May. 2021 11:31

Baiba Braže, Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, looks at how the threat of disinformation has evolved and explains NATO’s response.

NATO Experts | How does NATO respond to disinformation?

NATO is committed to transparent and honest communication and to countering disinformation. The Alliance’s approach involves understanding the information environment, engaging with audiences, communicating proactively and exposing major cases of disinformation.

Questions and Answers with Baiba Braže, Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy

1. Is disinformation a new phenomenon? Why do we hear so much about it nowadays?

Disinformation is not new. For centuries, state and non-state actors have weaponised information for political or military gain. What has changed is the sheer scale and complexity of today’s information landscape. Never before has it been easier for disinformation to spread through our societies, warp facts and influence perceptions.

2. What are the objectives of disinformation campaigns?

Disinformation can be used to achieve various aims including ideological, political or financial. Disinformation is only one type of hostile information activity. Different actors can also use hostile narratives and propaganda, sometimes in combination with disinformation. These activities can all attempt to sow division and undermine our democracies and our ability to act.

3. How does NATO respond to disinformation?

As a values-based organisation, NATO counters disinformation with fact-based, credible public communications. We are transparent and have publicly outlined our approach to countering disinformation. This involves understanding and analysing the information environment, engaging audiences to build resilience, communicating proactively and exposing major cases of disinformation. This work is underpinned by strong cooperation with partners, as we cannot act alone. From international organisations and national and local governments, to private companies, civil society and free and independent media, all actors – including NATO – have a part to play in countering disinformation.

4. What can citizens do to help fight against the spread of disinformation?

As citizens, we all have a role to play in not spreading disinformation. We must remember to be sceptical of sensationalist news, to consider the source, and to think twice before sharing on social media. Just like all NATO nations defend each other against any threat, countering disinformation is also a team effort: every citizen has their part to play. We need to increase our collective resilience to disinformation, together.

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