We are pleased to invite you to a public lecture and discussion on
On 6 December 2017 at 12.15 at the Assembly Hall of the University of Tartu
Does democracy need protection from disinformation?
In today’s world, new digital tools and the global reach of social media platforms have brought along a transformation of lifestyles: we order goods and services by a few clicks in an app, we rely on GPS to take us home, we prefer online sources to newspapers, and we rely on instant messages and social media to keep up with the lives of relatives, colleagues and friends. This requires us to be constantly available online, ready to receive and make sense of endless flows of information. We have come to lead our entire lives online and this has made us vulnerable.
While the perils of information age have been known for a long time, recent debates have focused on the viability of democracy in an age where everyone can easily create and disseminate information on a mass scale. The problem of “post-truth” is aggravated by the borderless world of the internet and the global reach of social media platforms. Democratic societies have limited tools to counter the threats posed by disinformation, lies and propaganda. How to control the spread of disinformation without restricting democratic principles? How to distinguish between trustworthy and non-trustworthy sources of information? How to ensure that people, the supreme sovereign, base their political decisions on information that bears at least some semblance to reality?
The lecture and the following discussion will feature two distinguished communication experts.
(b. 1982 in the Czech Republic) is working for the East StratCom Task Force, a newly formed team within the European External Action Service, with the main task of addressing Russia's ongoing disinformation campaigns, since 2015. He studied Philosophy and Russian language and literature at the Charles University in Prague. After the studies he started working for the newspaper Lidové noviny. For his journalistic work, he received an award for promising Czech journalists under 33 years of age.
In the task force, Jakub is leading the work on the third objective of the action plan, which is "improved EU capacity to forecast, address and respond to disinformation activities by external actors". For this, the team produces a regular weekly product with the latest examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation, the "Disinformation Review"; plus several analytical pieces per week. The team's public output can be found e.g. on the team's website www.euvsdisinfo.eu; on the Twitter account: https://twitter.com/EUvsDisinfo; or Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EUvsDisinfo. Apart from these public products, the team regularly briefs other EU institutions, Member States governments, or journalists on the issue of pro-Kremlin disinformation.
(b. 1940) has been involved in the academic training and research at the University of Tartu (Estonia) since 1972, has lectured in Journalism, Social Policy, Political Communication and Social Communication, being professor since 1995. Currently she is a professor of social communication at the Institute of Social Studies, where she is teaching courses on political culture and public communication. She participated actively in Estonia’s political breakthrough, being one of the leaders of Popular Front, member of the Estonian parliament and government and recently also member of the European Parliament. Her main research areas are post-communist transformation in Estonia and the emerging digital society in Europe. Her publications include the books Return to the Western World: Cultural and Political Perspectives on Estonian Post-Communist Transition (co-edited with P. Vihalemm, Tartu University Press, 1997); The Challenge of the Russian Minority (co-edited with M. Heidmets, Tartu University Press, 2002); Estonia’s Transition to the EU: Twenty Years On (co-edited with P. Vihalemm, Routledge, 2010). Recent articles: New Media and Changes in the Forms of Cultural Transmission, in P. Runnel, P. Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, P. Viires, M. Laak (Eds.), The Digital Turn. Users’ Practices and Cultural Transformations, Peter Lang, 2013); Introduction: Mapping European Social Transformations (co-autors A. Masso and S. Opermann), in The Routledge International Handbook of European Social Transformations (Routledge, 2018, forthcoming).
The discussion will be moderated by Dr Piret Ehin, Senior Researcher at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies.
We kindly ask you to register for the event until 4 December on the link below.
PLEASE REGISTER HERE
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The lecture series “Kapuściński Development Lectures”, named for Ryszard Kapuściński, a Polish reporter and writer who covered developing countries, is organized jointly by the European Commission, the United Nations Development Programme and the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies of the University of Tartu. The project is funded by the European Commission.
For more information, please contact:
Research Communication Specialist
Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
University of Tartumaili.vilson [ät] ut.ee
+372 737 6584