BRUSSELS: It’s been eight months since Russia launched its full-scale aggression against Ukraine. Already a year ago, in autumn last year, the military build-up became obvious, as were efforts to lay the ground for the aggression in the information space.
In the last three months leading up to the invasion of 24 February, EEAS East Stratcom Task Force observed a distinctive spike in disinformation narratives promoted by the Russian (dis)information ecosystem. In outlets known for spreading disinformation, the use of the keyword ‘Nazi’ in relation to Ukraine increased by almost 300%, while the keyword ‘genocide’ spiked by over 500%. In the last 12 months, over 1200 disinformation cases were recorded in the EUvsDisinfo repository – attacking Ukraine, the European Union, its Member States and the whole like-minded community that stood up to Russian aggression and keeps supporting Ukraine.
As the illegal military aggression continues, so do the information manipulation and disinformation campaigns. There are full-fledged disinformation and information manipulation activities ongoing in multiple languages and dozens of platforms, offline and online. It attempts to drive wedges in our society, feed on divisions, create confusion, and divert attention away from Russia’s aggression and its war crimes.
The 24th of October marks the start of the Global Media and Information Literacy Week. The last months have shown even more clearly how big a threat disinformation is, and how crucial it is to defend ourselves against it – also on the individual level. With its multi-tier approach, the EU has been at the forefront of the fight against foreign information manipulation and interference, including disinformation.
Today, East Stratcom Task Force is adding another tool that anyone could use to understand the threat better and to defend themselves against it. The EUvsDisinfo website, the EU’s first project raising awareness of disinformation, has been enriched with a new “Learn” section euvsdisinfo.eu/learn/.
This page explains the mechanisms, tactics, common narratives and actors behind disinformation and information manipulation. It offers insights into the pro-Kremlin media ecosystem, and also explains the philosophy behind foreign information manipulation and interference. The readers can also find easy response technics that anyone can apply, and afterwards they can practice their newly acquired skills through quizzes and games.
“Learn” aims to teach the readers how to judge the relevance and reliability of sources and their content as well as how to report and react to disinformation. These skills, according to the newly released Digital Competencies Framework for Citizens (DigComp 2.2), form part of the digital skills of the XXI century and are essential for informed citizens. The content of the page can be easily translated into practical exercises and case studies to discuss in a classroom.
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