"There is no political will in Georgia to fight disinformation" - Transparency International
Fighting disinformation in Georgia
According to a new study by Transparency International Georgia, the Georgian government is ineffective in combating disinformation in the country, and there is no political will to solve the problem.
Despite the fact that services have been created in various government agencies to work on disinformation and cybersecurity, an accurate analysis of this problem, inter-agency coordination and the effectiveness of specific actions by the state are still insufficient.
The government in some cases avoids direct criticism of the West, or makes allusions, which are then picked up by pro-government TV channels (for example, Imedi), those loyal to the authorities, as well as government pages, fake social media accounts and the public movement “People’s Power.”
TI maintains that Georgian Dream’s campaign contends that the US wants to involve Georgia in the war in Ukraine, and funding from the US is aimed at creating an agent network in Georgia. Another wave of government disinformation is also directed at the European Union. Here, the main narratives is similar — that Georgia is not being given EU candidate status because it is being punished for not joining the war in Ukraine, and the EU wants to open a second front in Georgia.
The document also mentions that the country is still the target of Russian disinformation and hybrid warfare. Hybrid warfare is propaganda, disinformation, sabotage and other non-military actions aimed at destabilizing the enemy.
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The main conclusions of the study:
● Due to the unavailability of information about the activities of state bodies and its fragmentation, it is difficult to get a complete picture of how exactly the state is fighting disinformation.
● In many cases, government actions are formal or determined by the political agenda of the ruling party.
● Government agencies are ineffective in informing the public about Russian disinformation narratives in a timely manner and mitigating their impact.
● Anti-Western, defamatory and disinformation statements by government officials against Western partners, ambassadors, non-governmental organizations, and strategic partners cause the population to become increasingly skeptical about the West, split society and increase the influence of Russian disinformation in the country.
● The ruling party deliberately spreads misinformation against opponents, critical media or NGOs through fake accounts or fake social media pages.
● Some of the country’s policy documents do not adequately address the growing problem of misinformation, so there is no national strategy for combating hybrid threats, and the concept of national security needs to be updated.
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According to Transparency International:
● In the fight against disinformation, the state must play a leading role and have a clear political will.
● Government officials should stop making anti-Western and defamatory statements against strategic partners and the non-governmental sector. The government must stop promoting disinformation.
● A publicly accessible document should be created that defines uniform and time-bound goals for combating propaganda.
● Against the backdrop of the ongoing war in Ukraine, the government should immediately respond to the challenges of disinformation, taking into account international experience.
● Strategic documents related to disinformation and national security (National Hybrid Threats Strategy, National Security Concept) should be updated and created as a response to modern challenges.