Between fact and fakery: Information and instability in the South Caucasus

– policy recommendations released


The Austrian National Defence Academy, the Director General for Security Policy of the Austrian Ministry of Defence and Sports, the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC), and the University of Göttingen have released a set of policy recommendations resulting from the workshop held by their Regional Stability in the South Caucasus Study Group initiated by the Partnership for Peace Consortium (PfP).

The Regional Stability in the South Caucasus Study Group held its 16th workshop from 9 to 12 November 2017 in Reichenau and discussed the impact of fake news on regional stability.

The aim of the workshop was to examine the impact of false reporting on the development of a free media environment in the South Caucasus, on the existing stability of the region’s governing powers, and on the competition for power and influence between major powers in the region.

The workshop asked the question of whether false reporting was ever justified, even for positive motives, such as the search for more harmonious intra-regional relationships, and the neutralisation of emotionally-driven behaviour in conflict resolution. The following recommendations were the result of significant debate among participants:

1. Establish a regional prize rewarding journalistic excellence and inter-professional exchanges.

2. Create – with the assistance of PfP Consortium volunteers – a curriculum on media literacy, emphasising the impact of modern communication techniques and social media on human biology, psychology, and behaviour. The aim would be to raise awareness of the media as a tool of hybrid warfare, and to build resilience at the individual level.

3. Prevent and remedy the effects on inaccurate reporting on regional stability by establishing national ‘counter-fakery’ agencies. The task of these agencies would be to counteract damaging reporting, particularly in cases where the media becomes a tool of hybrid warfare.

PfP_Policy_Paper_16RSSC_2017 Reichenau_Web