New publication: Disinformation and Digital Media as a Challenge for Democracy

On 18 June 2020, Intersentia published the sixth volume in the ‘European Integration and Democracy’ Series. The book, devoted to ‘Disinformation and Digital Media as a Challenge for Democracy’, was edited by Georgios Terzis, Dariusz Kloza, Elżbieta Kużelewska and Daniel Trottier, with the assistance of Ioulia Konstantinou.

“The book is motivated, to a large extent, by some recent troubling developments in public discourse, namely the developments in information and disinformation practices. From the beginning of history, various and diverse means or channels of communication have been used to inform, misinform (unintentionally) and disinform (deliberately). However, in recent decades, the emergence and development of new information and communications technologies (ICT), combined with the ever-increasing digitalisation and globalisation of almost every aspect of modern life, among others, have opened up new and uncharted avenues to that end. This book therefore focuses on disinformation practices occurring with the help of digital media as these practices bring to the fore profound negative ramifications for the functioning of a democratic polity. […] [The book] is meant to contribute to a debate and a reflection on the condition of our democracy at the dawn of the third decade of the 21st century” – wrote the Editors in their Introduction.

Dr. Jamie Shea, former NATO spokesperson, kindly wrote Preface, claiming that “[i]t would be pleasant to think that democracies will always wake up to their threats – internal and external – and heal themselves in good time before it is too late. [...] Yet, it is not too late to find public policy solutions which can restore information technologies to their original role of facilitators of democracy rather than their undertakers. But the timeframe is closing and we need these solutions sooner rather than later. This is why the present volume of expert analyses bringing together many academics arrives at just the right time”.

The book is an anthology compiling 19 chapters that contain diverse academic and professional comments from all over the world, touching upon topics that range from the theoretical approaches to and the conceptualisation of disinformation, to the experiences of dealing with disinformation, to the solutions for dealing with disinformation and their critique.

On the front cover, the Editors chose to reproduce a detail of Frederick Burr Opper’s cartoon ‘The fin de siècle newspaper proprietor’ (1894), allegedly the first use of the term ‘fake news’ in history. Three members of the Institute of European Studies and Vesalius College contributed to this collective work, namely Dr. Jamie Shea (preface), Prof. Georgios Terzis (co-editor and author) and Prof. Trisha Meyer (co-author). Their contributions focus on the role of media, social media platforms and the European Union in tackling disinformation.