Linda SANCHEZ (United States)
28 October 2021
This report was adopted by the Committee on Democracy and Security at the Annual Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Lisbon.
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, the Alliance has taken a wide range of measures. However, the response remains insufficient and fragmented.
This 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 center of ongoing discussions on NATO’s future. Rededicating the Alliance to democratic values and leading by example in deeds and words constitute the best defense against disinformation and propaganda.