Film Screening and Discussion: War 2020 — The Role of Disinformation and Propaganda in Society
On December 14, 2015, The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) together with the Permanent Representation of Lithuania to the EU, hosted a film screening and discussion in Brussels on the theme of disinformation and propaganda in society.
Ian O. Lesser, senior director for Foreign and Security Policy at GMF and executive director of GMF’s Brussels Office, welcomed the audience and introduced Linas Linkevičius, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, as well as Martynas Starkus and Jonas Banys, the two directors of the documentary “War 2020: Russia’s Information aggression”.
Before the screening, the two filmmakers explained they wanted to bring the Russian propaganda issue to the attention of common people who have no expertise on the topic. They also emphasized that “Russian propaganda is not just a problem of Eastern Europe that have sizeable Russian-speaking minorities”. According to them, the target audience of the Kremlin’s global propaganda machine is the “general population of the countries of the European Union, United States of America and South America.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania pleaded for alternative sources of information and for the need to create and invest in strategic communications offices within the European Union and NATO.
The panel was followed by a question and answer session engaging the audience of 80 participants including think tank representatives, academics, EU officials, diplomats and journalists. Questions touched on a number of issues such as the question of propaganda in other settings, the need for alternative sources of information for the Russian-speaking minorities of the Baltic States or the Ukraine crisis and concluded with the film screening.