Propaganda in the month of July


Here is an overview of Estonian media stories in July, which we have not previously written about but which are related to propaganda and influence manipulation.

A new work group setup to fight against Russian influence manipulation.
A July article in Delfi, referencing the Washington Post, stated that a new bipartisan transatlantic initiative has been established called the „Alliance for Securing Democracy“ and that among the several prominent defence policy experts, Toomas Hendrik Ilves is also included on the advisory council. The aim of the initiative is to assess and develop comprehensive strategies to defend against Russian worldwide influence efforts as well as against their cyber and propaganda attacks.

Propastop expert on Vikerradio.
In July, volunteer blogger, Andres Lember was on Vikerradio discussing the creation and development of new Russian anti-Estonian propaganda. The discussed theme referenced the postings on the blog.

Dario Caveng’s stated his opinion referencing Propastop material on this same theme in his ERR English portal article.

Kersti Kaljulaid: counterpropaganda is no better than propaganda
President Kersti Kaljulaid stressed in her opening remarks at the Riga Strategic Communication conference in July that it is important not to react to propaganda with counterpropaganda. It is important to teach people with honest and open beneficial debate as well as really talk to people and explain to them why contra-propaganda is as bad as propaganda itself.

Propastop wrote about counterpropaganda and anti-propaganda in the summer of 2016.

Phrase of the week „ national ombudsman“
Eesti Express has again used material for a story from Propastop’s blog. This time attention was focused on Propastop’s posted idea, that Estonia should have an official who deals with overturning and disclaiming anti-Estonian falsehoods.

Propastop has way too many examples, where falsehoods concerning Estonia are not overturned because this theme „falls between the cracks“ of exact field area description consequently no administration departments consider it as part of their work responsibility.

Propastop has plans to write on this theme in the near future.

Kristjan Oad: Theme on appropriate conscripts forming an anti-troll army.
An opinion piece appeared in Postimees in July, where Kristjan Oad develops the idea that Estonia could incorporate an army to fight Russian internet trolls into the military conscription program.

He writes: „ Putin supposedly has troll factories. We should then have an anti-troll army. We instruct 3000 new reservists every year. Why not instruct 1000 propaganda and communication specialists among them as well. The brighter and more creative ones in the group who due to health issues do not fit into the regular conscription program. Alternatively, those whose abilities would find a better application with this possibility. Hypothetically, women’s rolls in national defence could enlarge with this program.

The editors of Propastop believe that voluntary involvement in higher info security is a very welcomed idea, but before implementation, it would require a more detailed analysis on this type of undertaking. We definitely do not need a counterpropaganda dealing internet soldier army, rather we should channel the energy to enlighten and raise awareness to the rest of the inhabitants.