When speaking about propaganda, the story will include counterpropaganda and its necessity right from the start. There are a number of approaches to counterpropaganda – the narrowest of them considers oppositional or counterpropaganda as a propaganda-responsive activity, always activating after the fact. The more broader approach also includes proactive solutions to counterpropaganda activities, the most important of which is to raise people’s awareness.
Responsive counterpropaganda has the same goals as propaganda, to influence people’s opinions, emotions, attitudes and ultimately, behaviour but in an opposite direction to propaganda, with the aim of resetting or reducing the impact of propaganda messages on the target group. The activity is based on four main components: the dissemination of true information, clarity of the information transmitted the precise identification of the target audience for the propaganda and the speed of the response. Often undermining the credibility of the propaganda source is also added to the above mentioned.
The target audience for such counterpropaganda must be the same as the propaganda attack. This cannot be done proactively, so the response and speed of the counterpropaganda reaction are critical.
A newer approach to counterpropaganda is much wider and includes propaganda responses as well as activities that proactively increase the resilience of the population to propaganda. Such activities include for example, raising people’s awareness of propaganda, its techniques and sources as well as activities categorized as psychological protection in a wider context.
An active propaganda activity must always be preceded by an analysis of propaganda that needs to be responded to as efficiently as possible. Several solutions have been developed for comprehensive analysis of propaganda; the most effective is the SCAME model, which helps to structurally collect information about the propaganda source, content, target audience, distribution channels and outcomes of the propaganda.
The development of counterpropaganda has happened in waves, moving in sync with the ups and downs of propaganda activity. For example, the United States developed its counterpropaganda capabilities during the cold war years and new developments started enlarging only after the 911 attacks.
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