Linda SANCHEZ (United States)
16 April 2021
The information crisis surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the events at the US Capitol building on 6 January 2021 have laid bare the destabilizing effects of disinformation and propaganda on democratic societies. A growing number of ill-intentioned external and internal actors, from authoritarian states to non-state groups and citizens, engage in such hostile information activities to both advance their strategic interests and undermine Allied security and democratic resilience. Disinformation and propaganda threaten the liberal foundations of Allied societies. They limit the ability of citizens to access verified information, amplify polarization, and dent public trust in elections. To tackle this threat, a wide range of measures has therefore been taken in the Alliance and beyond. However, the response remains insufficient and fragmented.
This preliminary draft report offers a set of concrete recommendations on how the Alliance can address more effectively and coherently the threat of disinformation and propaganda. It calls for the adoption of a comprehensive, cooperative, and values-based approach to this menace, at both the national and NATO levels. It also urges the Alliance to place democratic resilience at the centre of ongoing discussions on NATO’s future. Rededicating the Alliance to democratic values and leading by example in deeds, as well as in words, constitute the best defence against disinformation and propaganda.
This preliminary draft report will be discussed by the Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security (CDS) at the Spring Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.