Stratcom Youth Academy 2017 was a unique possibility for future leaders to raise awareness about the concept and current trends of strategic communications and the role of media in the modern politics. The Academy took place simultaneously with one of the leading strategic communications forums in Europe organised by the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence “The Riga StratCom Dialogue 2017” (www.rigstratcomdialogue.org). Twenty young professionals from the YATA network joined the summer school academy and subsequently the Riga StratCom Dialogue 2017 that brought together experts, policy-makers, academics, and practitioners. During the five days, they took part in an in-depth discussion on how rapid changes in communications are affecting all sectors of our global society. The Riga StratCom Dialogue is one of the leading conferences currently focusing on strategic communications issues of utmost importance to NATO allies.
Rapid development of internet technologies has not only provided policy makers with numerous opportunities to communicate with society but also posed new challenges of sustaining domestic and international peace and security. Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, possible interference in the election processes in the USA and European countries, growth of populism and far right ideologies and also the activities of DAESH in the internet domain to radicalize and recruit have forced policy and decision makers to reflect on the ways how different media platforms can be used to achieve goals that are aimed at democratic states. Disinformation environment (propaganda and fake/biased news websites and networks used to distribute this disinformation) has helped gain control over large groups of people and create obstacles for national and transnational security.
The topics of the Stratcom Youth Academy 2017 covered were:
- Concept of strategic communication and its current trends;
- Russia’s propaganda – from soft power tools to annexation of Crimea;
- Election information wars – rise of populism and far right wing in Europe and the USA;
- Media platforms in the hands of DAESH – challenges and opportunities;
- topics covered by the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence conference “The Riga StratCom Dialogue 2017”.