The Weaponisation of Distrust and Doubt In Disinformation

The battleground of narratives during the pandemic and beyond

23 February 2022

Disinformation narratives have sought to exploit CEE’s ambivalence towards the West.

The technological changes in the communication and information ecosystem have coupled in central and eastern Europe (CEE) with historical anxieties, ambivalent public emotions, unfinished modernisation and the European integration processes. This rendered the region a breeding ground for disinformation, conspiracy theories and the like.

Addressing the problem of disinformation in CEE requires people-centric, whole-of-society approaches that go beyond the ‘fear of Russia’ hook. These approaches involve, among other things, massive investments in societal, institutional and individual resilience in order to deal with the mega-changes in the communication and information eco-system. 

This is needed to overcome possible sources of popular resentment created by the uneven distribution of the European integration benefits and close the trust deficit between citizens and their representatives. 

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Alina Bârgăoanu

Marcin Król Fellow at Visegrad Insight. Romanian communication scholar, Dean of the College of Communication and Public Relations, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest. She is currently a member of the advisory board of the European Digital Media Observatory and of the European Commission expert group on tackling disinformation and promoting digital literacy through education and training. Her research centres on the effects of populist politics in Europe as well as assessing the European Union’s attempts to maintain liberal order.

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