Fonet published opinion editorial about disinformation and propaganda

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on February 8th, 2020 under Articles | No Comments »

FoNet, the oldest private news agency in Serbia with the independent editorial policy, has recently published the digested version of my opinion editorial from the leading Serbian weekly Novi Magazin.
BELGRADE, February 03, 2020
The governments around the world are currently the most serious creators of the fake news and propaganda content, suggests Ms. Aleksandra Hristov, the Internationally Certified Management Consultant in the area of Strategic Communication.
Ms. Hristov, the director of Hristov Consulting, in her analysis „PR in the service of Conflict“, explains  that   the media should work in the public interest, while PR generally works in the interest of its clients. Where these interests overlap, cooperation is both necessary and possible, stated Hristov in her recent opinion editorial for Serbian weekly Novi Magazin.
However, she warned we are often confronted with the situation whereby our profession is used as  an instrument in the hands of those who have their own specific goals, and who do not hesitate to choose any means to achieve them.
As a rule, stated Hristov, those who knowingly agree to be an instrument of the special interests, without following the professional  codes, are eventually always abused and victimized by their own clients.
Whereas, the PR sector, if it does its job properly, is an ally of the media, and contributing to the safeguarding of the public interest and the development of the society as a whole.
Hristov goes on to conclude that the European Union officials very often do not see or understand how much the freedom of the media in Serbia is endangered, including the undermining of the public benefit and the democracy itself. In addition to that, the most of the principles prescribed by the laws and the codes are habitually not applied in practise, or to a lesser extent even abused. When bots, trolls and other “helpers” are added to this, it’s almost impossible to explain to the visiting foreign officials and experts what this is all about.
Referring to the existing EU Study, she notes that elements of disinformation and propaganda includes the information that is designed to be wholly or partially false, manipulative or misleading, or is using the unethical retelling techniques
Ms. Hristov has emphasised that the disinformation and propaganda are always intended to create insecurity, hostility or polarization in the society, or is attempting to disrupt the democratic processes. They are spread and / or amplified by the automated and aggressive techniques, such as social bots, artificial intelligence, micro-targeting, or paid human “trolls”, and are used to increase the public visibility of its sources.
Additionally, she mentions the public statement made by Richard Stengel, a former chief editor of The Time magazine and the undersecretary of State during the Obama administration, who defined disinformation as an intentional fraudulent content used to deceive someone. Furthermore, Stengel connects the raise of the authoritarian leaders to the spread of internet and sophisticated methods of using of the media and information in general.
Leaders in these situations limit the dissemination of information they do not want, while promoting the information they desire, which is a very dangerous combination.
The end 15:24

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