The example of Ukraine gives us much inspiration, we have a lot to learn from you, Lutz Güllner

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On March 27-28, the Centre for Strategic Communication and Information Security held the third annual Kyiv Stratcom Forum 2024.

Ukrainian officials, international diplomats, and communications experts gathered at the forum to share experiences on approaches to countering hybrid aggression and building strategic communications.

Taras Shevchenko, Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine on European Integration:

“I believe that the best way [to counter foreign manipulation] is to have joint discussions and work together to find solutions to problems.”

Lutz Güllner, Head of Strategic Communications at the European External Action Service emphasizes that information manipulation is a global issue. Ukraine acts as an example for European countries, gives them much inspiration and teaches them a lot.

“When we mention suspicious activity, we need to look for the creators behind it and see which techniques they use, what the typical schemes of their activities are. Only with a full understanding of this will we be able to always stand in a defensive position. This is a matter of both communications and security policy. The efforts of one ministry will not be enough, it should be the joint work of all agencies,” he stated.

Güllner also said that in the EU, specialists developed an approach consisting of several elements: 1) it is necessary to understand the very essence of the issue, to have situational awareness; 2) common resilience — not to allow the phenomenon to penetrate the very fabric of our society, our democracy; 3) regulation of the information sphere.

Jonny Hall, Director of the Information Threats and Influence Directorate, says that the UK is investing heavily in new, innovative approaches to maintain credible information so that it can be reliably delivered to citizens.

“At the government level, we are considering how to increase our capabilities, arm ourselves with tools, and ensure coordination. Two years ago, we in the UK saw that we had not invested enough in building a mechanism that would allow us to respond in a strategic, global way to these [information] challenges. Therefore, we have created a new Directorate within the FCDO, which coordinates our activities in this area. We engage partners, work with colleagues from the UK ministries and departments and the military. We need to increase our efforts and cover the entire sector of public administration, try to coordinate our reactions and find weaknesses, and not ignore allies,” highlighted Hall.

In his opinion, Ukraine is an example of cross-cutting state and public work, when it was possible to form teams of people who counter Russian disinformation.

Marie-Doha Besancenot, Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, notes that NATO is raising Allies’ awareness in the context that this is not just a matter of communications, it is a matter of collective defence.

“We explain that disinformation can gain critical weight and affect our security. Now we have to get to the reaction, to the answers. NATO must act in a coordinated, coherent manner,” said Besancenot.

Daniel Kimmage, Principal Deputy Coordinator of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, spoke about the mechanisms that they managed to develop.

“This is a framework to counter manipulations in international information in 5 functional areas: 1) national strategies; 2) public institutions; 3) human and technical capacity; 4) community, media, and academics; 5) multinational approach.

We covered 10 key players, in particular, Albania, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Japan, Lithuania, Korea, Great Britain: they agreed upon this framework. We’re investigating how to attract more partners,” stated Kimmage.

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