European Communication Research
and Education Association

Log in

What Happens to Public Diplomacy During Information War? Critical Reflections on the Conceptual Framing of International Communication

21.05.2020 21:29 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

JOANNA SZOSTEK, University of Glasgow, UK

International Journal of Communication 14(2020)

An earlier version of this article was presented at ECREA panel on ICA 2019 in Washington, DC

Discussions about state-sponsored communication with foreign publics are increasingly framed in the language of “information war” rather than “public diplomacy,” particularly in Eastern Europe. For example, media projects supported by Western governments to engage Ukrainian audiences, and Ukrainian government efforts to engage international audiences via the media, are considered necessary responses in the information war with Russia. This article highlights several potentially problematic assumptions about communicative influence that are embedded in the language of information war. First is the assumption that communication can be targeted like a weapon to achieve a predictable impact. Second is the assumption that audiences engage with communication from an adversary because they are “vulnerable.” Third is the assumption that “winning” in an information war means getting citizens to believe particular facts. Although these assumptions may hold to some degree, this article argues that adopting them uncritically can have detrimental consequences in policymaking.



Chaussée de Waterloo 1151
1180 Uccle

Who to contact

Support Young Scholars Fund

Help fund travel grants for young scholars who participate at ECC conferences. We accept individual and institutional donations.



Copyright 2017 ECREA | Privacy statement | Refunds policy