To read: the manipulation of information

(B2) The analysis center of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (CAPE) and the Strategic Research Institute of the Military School (IRSEM) have just published a study which reviews the phenomenon of information battle.

A report to read, well written, captivating, interesting. Lots of facts and numerous reflections.

Election interference and disinformation

Particular attention is given to the various electoral interferences which have taken place in recent years (in the USA, France or elsewhere). Russian, Chinese and Daesh methods of disinformation are dissected. The study ends with 50 recommendations for action at the national or European level.

A threat underestimated or denied by several European countries

The Russian threat is particularly highlighted, notably in the chapter of the European Union and NATO. An undervalued threat. Several countries in Europe are in the “ denial » estimate the authors: from Austria to Malta via Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Luxembourg. Some are even hostile (Greece, Cyprus) “ systematically blocking any European effort on the subject ". The EU's counter-propaganda structure (we speak of an anti-disinformation cell) appears under-resourced.

Comment: The theme of information manipulation has become very 'fashionable', especially in the circles of European leaders. However, there remains a more general doubt about this type of exercise, especially when it is practiced by institutes attached to official bodies. Are they really credible?

Attempts to control information, disinformation, even pure propaganda are also the work of our leaders, whether on 'little things' - the Benalla affair in France or the Selmayr affair at the European Commission - or on more serious subjects. strategic — Franco-British intervention in Libya or EU association agreement in Ukraine —. We probably cannot put everything on the same level, but the objective is the same: to deceive the public, to guide their opinion. They also have a certain impact on public confidence.

When they are caught in the act, political leaders are also quicker to 'blacklist' the journalists concerned, and to accuse the press pell-mell of 'doing the job poorly', of spreading 'fake news' or to play into the hands of populism', etc. than recognizing a problem. In doing so, they discredit both the work of the press but also their own work. And they trivialize (other) information manipulators. Talking about manipulation of information will therefore be credible when we discuss all cases of manipulation and not just 'those opposite'.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

To download here or on the website from IRSEM

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).