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Naja Bentzen

This tag is associated with 27 posts

The 2018 Sakharov Prize

Thirty years since it was first awarded, the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought retains all its symbolic meaning, as human rights continue to be embattled in many parts of the world. Continue reading

From post-truth to post-trust?

Is the ‘very concept of objective truth’ fading out of the world, as George Orwell wrote in his Homage to Catalonia in the 1930s? Or is truth even ‘dead’, as Time magazine asked in 2017? Can we draw clear lines between objective facts, spin and lies? What are the consequences of ‘truth decay’ for trust, democracy and multilateralism? Continue reading

Computational propaganda techniques

The techniques used by anti-democratic state and non-state actors to disrupt or influence democratic processes are constantly evolving. The use of algorithms, automation and artificial intelligence is boosting the scope and the efficiency of disinformation campaigns and related cyber-activities. Continue reading

Online disinformation and the EU’s response

The proliferation of disinformation – including false news posing as factual stories – became increasingly visible in the context of the crisis in Ukraine, gaining notoriety as a global challenge during the 2016 United States presidential election campaign. While the EU is stepping up its efforts to tackle online disinformation ahead of the European elections in 2019, the EU’s myth-busting team is facing criticism. Continue reading

Adapting to new digital realities: Main issues and policy responses

Digital technologies have changed the way we live and transformed the world around us at unprecedented speed. They have affected all important aspects of life, both at work and at home, and have influenced almost everything from human relations to the economy, to the extent that access to the internet has now become a basic human right recognised by the United Nations. Continue reading

Europe’s online encyclopaedias: Reliable knowledge for all in the post-fact era?

At a time when information is easily manipulated for ideological and/or economic purposes, emotions often trump evidence, while trust in institutions, expertise and mainstream media is declining. Continue reading

Europe’s challenges in 2018: Ten issues to watch

‘Ten issues to watch in 2018’ was presented in the Library of the European Parliament on 11 January, in the context of a roundtable discussion that attracted an audience of more than 130 people. The significant attendance demonstrated the high interest in the publication – the second edition of an annual EPRS publication designed to identify key issues and policy areas that are likely to feature prominently on the political agenda of the European Union over the coming year. Continue reading

Disinformation, ‘fake news’ and the EU’s response

The impact of the online spread of mis- and disinformation – including false news posing as factual stories – became increasingly visible in the context of the crisis in Ukraine, and gained notoriety as a global phenomenon during the 2016 presidential election campaign in the United States. Continue reading

EU support for media freedom – looking East: Turkey, Western Balkans, Eastern Partnership, Russia

Written by Naja Bentzen, Velina Lilyanova, Philippe Perchoc, Martin Russell, with Clare Ferguson Each year, on 3 May, UNESCO reminds the world of the importance of press freedom to creating peaceful societies which value justice and human rights. This year’s World Press Freedom Day takes the theme of ‘Critical Minds for Critical Times’, underlining the growing … Continue reading

‘Fake news’ and the EU’s response

Written by Naja Bentzen, Graphics by Christian Dietrich. Fake news – deliberately fabricated stories posing as journalism with the aim of manipulating readers – became an increasingly visible global phenomenon during last year’s presidential election campaign in the United States, not least due to the growing use of social media as a source for news. … Continue reading

How will evolving global shifts impact us in 2017?

Written by Naja Bentzen, Following 2016, a year of shifts and shocks, there is little doubt that 2017 holds potential for much uncertainty. A new EPRS publication, Ten issues to watch in 2017, explores a number of issues – internal and external security, the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU (Brexit), the new United States … Continue reading

Ahead of the EU-Ukraine summit: Increasing pressure for progress

Written by Naja Bentzen, Three years ago, on 21 November 2013, Ukraine’s then President, Viktor Yanukovich, caved in to Russian pressure and decided against signing the EU-Ukraine association agreement. The following ‘dignity revolution’ paved the way for Yanukovich’s own ousting on 22 February 2014, igniting hope among Ukrainian citizens for a future closer to the European Union. The Ukraine … Continue reading

Iceland ahead of the parliamentary elections

Written by Naja Bentzen, The financial storm that swept Iceland in 2008 has had long-lasting effects on the country’s domestic political climate. Despite the remarkably speedy economic recovery, the post-crash political crisis has continued to evolve. New, alternative political movements have mushroomed, and the anti-establishment Pirate Party is expecting a big boost in the 29 … Continue reading

Belarus’s parliamentary elections: Déjà vu?

After 22 years in power, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s camp can expect yet another victory in the 11 September parliamentary elections. The weary Belarusian opposition is no threat to the iron-fisted president, who represents stability in uncertain times. What is new, however, is that Lukashenko, who is increasingly trying to balance his relations with the West and Russia amid on-going economic woes, seems worried about the growing presence of pro-Putin forces in Belarus. Continue reading

Imports of Belarusian textile products [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Naja Bentzen (1st edition), In the light of the ‘positive political developments’ in relations between the European Union and the Republic of Belarus – not least due to Belarusian authorities’ release of six political prisoners in August 2015 – the Commission proposes scrapping the existing autonomous quotas on imports of textiles and clothing … Continue reading

Strategic communication: the EU’s response to invasive narratives [Policy Podcast]

Written by Naja Bentzen, Strategic communication (StratCom) is not a new concept, but its significance for the European Union’s external relations policy and security environment is increasing in the context of disinformation practices in relation to the Ukraine conflict and spreading into the EU, as well as propaganda campaigns by jihadi groups. Modern disinformation (defined … Continue reading

Safety of nuclear installations in Belarus [Plenary Podcast]

Written by Naja Bentzen, Thirty years after the Chernobyl accident in neighbouring Ukraine, Belarus is building its first nuclear power plant (NPP). The first unit is set to become operational in 2018 with Russian assistance. However, as the project advances, safety concerns are mounting. Belarus to realise nuclear power aspirations with help from Russia The … Continue reading

Ukraine — in limbo between crisis and transformation? [Policy Podcast]

Written by Naja Bentzen, When Ukraine’s then President Viktor Yanukovich caved in to Russian pressure and refused to sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in 2013, he involuntarily sparked the ‘revolution of dignity’ that paved the way for his own ousting on 22 February 2014, igniting hope for a European future. Today — more than two … Continue reading

Supporting Ukraine between crisis and transformation – Ukraine Week in the European Parliament

Written by Naja Bentzen, When Ukraine’s then President Viktor Yanukovich caved in to Russian pressure and refused to sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in 2013, he triggered the ‘revolution of dignity’, that paved the way for his own ousting on 22 February 2014 and sparked hope for a European future. Today — two years after … Continue reading

Understanding propaganda and disinformation

Written by Naja Bentzen Recent security-related developments have increased the focus on, and concern over, the use of biased and deceptive information as a strategic communication tool. The growing emphasis on countering manipulation of information calls for an equally attentive approach to the usage and definitions of the terms involved. Manipulation of information: old tools, … Continue reading

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