As a diplomat for nearly three decades, I’ve long followed national and local news around the world to better understand the societies in which I work. Real journalism is a vital component of any democracy, serving to educate and inform the public about its leaders and policies. Unfortunately, there have always been those who have attempted to use news sources to distort the truth to advance their own political, economic or personal agendas. While new technologies have expanded citizens’ ability to receive news from a far wider range of sources, it also makes it easier for stories and narratives to flourish that are deceptive or just plain false. Because of this, I am always cautious about the information I consume.
I hope the people of Ukraine are taking a similar approach when they turn on their televisions and scroll through social media updates and news feeds. Today, disinformation is a challenge faced by every democracy and its citizens.