How can Europe counter Russian propaganda?


On the 6th May 2015, Heinrich Böll Stiftung together with the Representation of the State of Hessen to the European Union organized a conference: “Experiences in Europe in the Hybrid Conflict: The manipulation of reality and what we can do about it’.

„Erfahrungen in Europa im Hybriden Konflikt: Die Fälschung der Wirklichkeit und was wir dagegen tun können“ in der LV Hessen / EU mit der Heinrich Böll StiftungMain message of the conference: it would be neither morally right nor effective for the EU to fight Russian information warfare with its own propaganda, however, some measures against this danger must be taken by the EU and the member states. Mark Weinmeister, Hessian State Secretary for European Affairs, said “the conflict is taking place not only in Ukraine but also in the heads of Europeans”. He also spoke about the role of independent media as a safeguard for democracy in Europe.

The conflict is taking place not only in #Ukraine, but also in the heads of the people in #Europe – Mark Weinmeister

Rebecca Harms, Chair of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, European Parliament, believes that the EU is not yet ready to return to normal relations with Russia. She also stressed, that while there might be voices critical to sanctions, the EU has no alternative to them. Finally, Ms. Harms warned not to put interests before values in the conflict in Ukraine.

You cannot win propaganda with propaganda. We have to offer something more – Rebecca Harms

20150505_30Anne Gallinek, ZDF – Correspondent in Brussels, previously ZDF-Correspondent in Moscow, retold her personal experiences from covering Maidan and the falsified coverage it received in Russia. She is convinced that it is possible to recognize a lie from a truth, and it is a job of a journalist to check facts.

A new European channel in #Russia will not help. It will be seen as Western propaganda channel – Anne Gallinek

„Erfahrungen in Europa im Hybriden Konflikt: Die Fälschung der Wirklichkeit und was wir dagegen tun können“ in der LV Hessen / EU mit der Heinrich Böll StiftungPeter Pomerantsev, London-based book author and journalist, stressed that “the age of information has become an age of disinformation”. Therefore, the Helsinki moment for the media has come and a unified code of behaviour, agreed upon by all of the major media, should be adopted. Furthermore, asymmetrical response to Russian propaganda would be media literary in schools. Mr. Pomerantsev  thinks that Russia might be trying to establish a global confrontation where the difference between the state of war and peace ceased to exist.

Russian vision for the 21st century is a vision of permanent hyper-competition, it is opposite to the EU’s vision – Peter Pomerantsev