Policy Paper: Teaching the State to Talk: Lessons for the Czech Republic on Using Strategic Communication as a Counter-Disinformation Tool
In recent years, the Czech Republic has, along with the rest of the Western world, experienced the harmful effects of disinformation on its democracy, state functionality, and social cohesion. Although it acknowledged the existence of the problem in the 2016 National Security Audit, it has been, to date, unable to organize its defences and develop an effective and comprehensive system capable of countering this new and elusive threat.
A state-level strategic communication is, however, a key part of any successful counter-disinformation strategy. The scope of the problem was illustrated by the utter failure to respond to the 2020 Covid-19 “infodemic”. The complete absence of any government communication that would counter the barrage of false and manipulative information has illustrated the need for a complex, robust, and synchronised system of state strategic communication.
The United Kingdom and Taiwan, the two democratic countries with the most advanced systems for using communication as a counterdisinformation tool, both share similar characteristics in their strategies. Both systems have strong central anti-disinformation
teams close to the heart of government, and they both put emphasis on the speed and effective targeting of their counter-disinformation messaging. In order for the Czech Republic to have an effective counter-disinformation system, the development of a central strategic communications unit, tasked with high-level analysis, decision making, monitoring and coordination, is a crucial step. Modelling its system on best practices from the UK and Taiwan would allow the Czech Republic to replicate best practices and avoid costly mistakes.
For this purpose, this paper analyses the strategic communication elements of the United Kingdom’s and Taiwan’s counterdisinformation systems and their application feasibility in the Czech context.