Peter Pomerantsev: XXI century is an age of disinformation



Kyiv, June 3, 2015. Peter Pomerantsev, a British writer and producer, is confident that media literacy and other techniques that help to avoid getting affected by black PR become increasingly important, as the XXI century transforms into an age of disinformation.

In Pomerantsev’s view, one should be careful while using information in the hybrid war: the worst-case scenario is to get into the trap of PR-wars with Russia – the latter will always win such a confrontation thanks to the highly qualified PR specialists. “You should look for the weak spots in the hybrid war with Russia; they are afraid of investigations especially on corruption practices. Hit the spots where they feel uncomfortable but do not to engage in PR-wars, do not feed the trolls,” he advised.

There is hardly any logic in the Russian propaganda as it does not have any large-scale narrative. “It’s about weaponizing information; it’s not an ideology but the use of information to create pressure. Today a certain country is a friend, tomorrow it is an enemy, depending on the situation,” Pomerantsev explains.

One of the advices that Peter Pomerantsev made was to cooperate with pro-active members of society who do not have a defined understanding of events because of different and sometimes contradictory information form various sources: “Do not be worried that certain part of them are supportive of the “pro-Russian” and Russian-language media in different countries.

Peter Pomerantsev cited audience research studies in different countries, which indicated the need to create an alternative quality Russian-language media independent of the Kremlin control. Most of the countries, including the Baltic States, Moldova and Ukraine enjoy free access to various sources of information. “However, the result is a total mess in the heads of those people, it is very serious. The main argument of liberalism and media is that people have a choice of various viewpoints, they can make their own decisions, it is one of the democratic principles,” he said.

But exactly the opposite happens – people trust no one and feel confused on where the truth is. “In this information mess when you trust no one, your gravity in on the side of him who narrates in a more emotional and “cinematic” way. And Russian media are winning in this,” Pomerantsev emphasized, arguing that the Russian media often transforms the news into cinematographic features. People like such kind of products, making them emotionally tied to the “Russian media world”.

In this case one should fight for winning the trust. Ukraine has to present itself in Europe. According to Pomerantsev, it would be better if civil society or volunteers not the state do it, as they are trusted more by the wide public including that abroad.

Ukraine has to work with intellectual elite and international journalists. So that at least they do understand what is happening and then would influence wider audience. “There is contemporary Ukrainian literature. Translate Andrukhovych or Zhadan into English, I think that’s the level to start from,” Pomerantsev concluded.