The poisonous apple

Access to information is a fundamental human right and it has helped build the sovereignty of nations. In the years to come, the concept of “information sovereignty”, advocated by Moscow or Beijing, may turn the tide and damage democratic empowerment. Central and Eastern Europeans should care for their own information sovereignty, but in the first place we should get it right.

In autumn 2018 Poland was celebrating its 100 years of independence. On that occasion the European Solidarity Centre and private television station, TVN24, organised a televised discussion with historians who reflected on the significance of reinstating sovereignty. Timothy Snyder, the American historian and author of Bloodlands, spoke at large about the many dimensions of the concept, and invoked the notion “information sovereignty” – a collective effort to establish free media as well as developing countermeasures to push back against aggressive disinformation campaigns from Bolshevik Russia. Information warfare was as present and real a danger back then as it is today; except that wireless meant mostly long wave radio broadcast.

January 27, 2020 - Wojciech Przybylski