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President Kaljulaid: counter-propaganda is no better than propaganda


President of the Republic, Kersti Kaljulaid, opened the Riga StratCom Dialogue conference today at the NATO Centre of Excellence in Riga. In her address President Kaljulaid emphasised that countries are facing an increasingly serious challenge of delivering their message without compromising media freedom and falling into the trap of counter-propaganda.

"Good communication is both a function and proof of good governance. In a democracy, informative and transparent communication is essential to the maintenance of a productive and enduring relationship between the executive, legislature, judiciary and electorate. Communication therefore has a constitutional significance. The democratic process can be damaged when communication is insincere, inadequate or incomplete," said President Kaljulaid at the conference. However, she emphasised that no communication strategy can save an unconvincing and ineffective policy. "Countries must demonstrate actual policy results in the fields of social, economic, cultural and other spheres. If the link from promise to practice is not possible, it must lead, and ultimately will lead, to governing failure. We can attempt to prove otherwise in the so-called post-truth world but post-truth is a short-term strategy," she added.

President Kaljulaid also emphasised the importance of media freedom and diversity in her speech: "It is important to support media diversity, think-tank landscape and encourage cooperation and information exchange between think-tanks, governments and the media. By this I mean content, substance and not of mere talking points presentation. One must avoid taking a road as slippery when fighting against propaganda and fake news. Democratic countries must not use counter propaganda to fight propaganda. It is important to teach people the merits of honest and open discussion and actually talk to people to explain why exactly counter propaganda is as limiting as propaganda."

The full text of the address in English is available at the following link.

Office of the President
Public Relations Department