Code of conduct when communicating with a propaganda channel


There have been many occasions in Estonia, where an untrained person has given interviews to a foreign propaganda channel and found out afterwards that things said have been taken out of context or portrayed in entirely different manner. Those occassions are described in original post (in Estonian).

Propastop provides few tips when one must give an interview to a propaganda channel. These apply similarly to everyone, including politicians and officials:

•    If possible, one should avoid giving any interviews to a propaganda channel. These channels tend to rip the words out of context, to assure some previously formed and biased story. Previous intentions of the interviewee usually do not have any place.

•    If, however, for some reason communication takes place, filmed interviews should be avoided. For an inexperienced person, an interview on camera is the most difficult genre. In this situation, it is hard to control spoken words, non-verbal means of expression, backgrounds and contexts. Interview in a written form is much easier. It is possible to think through the response, and afterwards the interviewee will also have a copy of the initial interview, which in necessity could be used as evidence.

•    If an oral interview is inevitable, then the interviewee should find a way also to record the conversation. This is for insurance afterwards, when the words are twisted and taken out of context.

•    Beforehand, it is a must to ask journalist’s full name, position and contacts, as well as the media channels name. This simple things tends to be often forgotten.

•    Before the publication one should demand the full interview and prohibit the publishing otherwise. All such agreements should be made before the interview. Afterwards, the interview belongs to the journalist, and s/he does not have to take into account any terms and conditions presented later.

Photos: illustration from book “Lexicon of Modern Life”  from 1932 and propaganda poster “Wanted! For murder: her careless talk costs lives” from WWII (image HeadOvMetal / Flickr / CC )