The information age is turning into the disinformation age. From Vladimir Putin’s use of media to hallucinate a war into reality in Ukraine, through to ISIS’ snuff videos and China’s ‘internet ushers’ to control social media, the 21st century is seeing a new intensity and scale of media manipulation and psychological war.

Propaganda is as old as the Iliad, but the speed and scale of technological advances, a more liquid use of ideology by authoritarian regimes, and the development of information war theories which envisage defeating the enemy without ever firing a shot, mean that the challenge is being redefined. In the words of Russian media guru Vassily Gatov: “If the greatest battle of the 20th century was the battle for freedom of information, against censorship, then the battle in the 21st will concern the abuse of freedom of information, the use of information as a weapon by authoritarian rulers and aggressive non-state actors”.

At the same time, the West is finding it increasingly difficult to project democratic values or guarantee its own non-kinetic security. The institutions that were meant to tell the story of liberal democracy, from the BBC World Service to the BBG in the US, have been depleted. And even if they could find the means to communicate more effectively, what story should they tell?

The Legatum Institute’s Beyond Propaganda series will help media, experts and the general public to be better equipped against media manipulation across the world, and will inform the work of policy-makers looking for innovative ways to win the ‘information war’.


  • Peter Pomerantsev, Senior Fellow to the Transitions Forum, Legatum Institute


  • Monday, 22 June 2015, 18:15 for 18:30 start, followed by a drinks reception
  • Legatum Institute, 11 Charles Street, London, W1J 5DW


  • Attendance is strictly by RSVP only. To register your interest, please contact or

The Transitions Forum is a series of projects dedicated to the challenges and possibilities of radical political and economic change.

Source of information