How did we all become part of the war in Ukraine? - the media and information perspective

12 April, 17:00

What is the role of (social) media during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? Can international hacker groups have an impact on how this war will continue? Did the use of media change in conflicts in comparison to previous conflicts? How can Tinder play a role during a war? How did the role of media change within Russia with the new media laws? How did we all become a part of this war? How did 'clicktivism' become the new phenomenon? Russia's invasion of Ukraine highlights the powerful role of social media and communication in warfare. We all have become part of this war through our phones. It is a war over information and “the truth” as much as a war over territory. Most of us gather our information on the war via social media platforms, as they report faster than traditional media channels. This fast spread of information also comes along with a fast spread of false information. Social media in this war has not only been central in order to spread information but is also used as a tool to mobilise humanitarian aid, organise protests and civil actions or raise money and donations. Overall, social media has become a central tool of various, if not all involved actors.

 

During the ongoing war, misinformation and propaganda are fast associated with Russia and its state-controlled news outlets. In Russia, Putin is controlling and weaponizing information about the conflict. The Russian government is limiting the spread of information to Russian citizens and promotes its justifications for the invasion. The Russian government has also shut down and censored independent media outlets in order to better control the narrative. The new Russian media law that was put in place at the beginning of March threatens every individual that spread so called ‘false information’ on the war with up to 15 years of jail time. As in every conflict, misinformation can be used by different parties of the war. Through social media, every individual can easily contribute to the spread of misinformation by sharing false videos and misleading claims. Yet, one needs to distinguish between individual and state-led dissemination of misinformation, since the latter can have more far-reaching consequences.

 

To discuss these questions, we have the pleasure of welcoming Johana Kotišová a media anthropologist, author, and fellow at the University of Amsterdam. She has a background in social anthropology and media studies, holds a double Ph.D. degree in Sociology, and is focuses her work on conflict reporting

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