Shattered Neutrality: Internet at Crossroads of War and Geopolitics – TOPIC 01 Sub 01 2023
20 June 2023 | 10:30 - 11:15 EEST | Main auditorium | |
Consolidated programme 2023 overview / Main Topic 1
Proposals: #51 #62
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In the midst of the chaos and devastation of war, can technology truly maintain its neutrality? This session invites you to explore the intricate relationship between the internet and the geopolitics of war. We will deep dive into the multifaceted ways in which the internet not only influences but is also profoundly influenced by the turbulent dynamics of warfare. Join us for a collaborative and forward-thinking discussion, as we navigate the challenges of internet neutrality against the backdrop of Russia's military invasion of Ukraine.🕊️
In recent years, the internet has emerged as a powerful tool that can shape the outcome of conflicts and influence geopolitical dynamics. The Russian military invasion of Ukraine serves as a stark example of how the internet's role has transformed from a neutral platform for communication and information sharing to a weapon of war and a tool for manipulation. Our discussion will commence by engaging participants in a critical examination of whether technology can truly remain neutral in the face of chaos and destruction wrought by armed conflicts. We will critically analyze the biases, power dynamics, and political interests that permeate digital systems, challenging the notion of internet as a neutral domain. Furthermore, we will explore the profound implications of the internet's role during the Russia’s war against Ukraine and shed light on the ways in which the internet can be harnessed as both a weapon, influencing public opinion and perpetuating the conflict, and a platform for resistance. The session will also emphasize the importance of fostering dialogue and exploring avenues for leveraging the internet as a force for peace, accountability, and humanitarian aid in war-torn regions.
As the opening session of EuroDIG 2023, the Spotlight Talk sets the tone for subsequent discussions by addressing the pressing topic of Russia's aggressive war against Ukraine — an unprecedented conflict in the heart of Europe that reverberates worldwide. This format allows us to delve directly into the core issues, featuring guest speakers who will provide initial insights into the complex interplay between the internet and the geopolitics of war. The session seamlessly evolves into an interactive discussion, inviting active participation from the audience and fostering a dynamic exchange of ideas.
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"Geopolitical neutrality of global internet" Round table discussion at 2022 IGF https://isoc.live/16116/?fbclid=IwAR35nC1iYpbSfTaxGdb84jq5p46Gm_KI8yoNo44q_FM_A3iem9EWWTQEK1k
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- Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond
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Key Participants (onsite)
- Miapetra Kumpula-Natri - Member of the European Parliament (Finland)
- Adam Peake - Senior Manager for Global Civil Society Engagement at Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
- Olga Kyryliuk - Digital Rights Coordinator at Internews; Chair at South Eastern European Dialogue on Internet Governance (SEEDIG)
- Dušan Stojičević - Marketing Director for Eastern Europe at Gransy; Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors at Serbian National Internet Domain Registry (RNIDS)
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Reporters will be assigned by the EuroDIG secretariat in cooperation with the Geneva Internet Platform. The Reporter takes notes during the session and formulates 3 (max. 5) bullet points at the end of each session that:
- are summarised on a slide and presented to the audience at the end of each session
- relate to the particular session and to European Internet governance policy
- are forward looking and propose goals and activities that can be initiated after EuroDIG (recommendations)
- are in (rough) consensus with the audience
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- 19 April 2023 - preparatory call
Rapporteur: Andrijana Gavrilović, Geneva Internet Platform
- The Internet has changed how war is fought, and how it is covered by media. At the same time, the war has put ‘One world, one Internet’ to a stress test. The foundations of global and interoperable Internet should not be affected by the deepening geopolitical divide, even though it has fragmented the content layer.
- Measures interfering with the Internet’s ability to operate as a global communications infrastructure, such as revoking the delegation of a TLD, IP address prefix or ASN, are problematic. The Internet should be kept as a global space for communication, free from disruptions caused by geopolitical tensions.
- More needs to be done about constraining online propaganda content. Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act will be helpful in this regard. Media literacy of users should also be strengthened to equip users to discern propaganda effectively.
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>> NADIA TJAHJA: ... We’ll go straight into the upcoming session. I would like to invite Dusan Stojicevic, marketing Director for Eastern Europe of Gransy, Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors ever Serbian national Internet domain registry to join us on stage to talk about shattered neutrality: Internet at crossroads of war and geopolitics. A warm welcome, please.
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: So you have heard all the talks in introduction. You have heard details, how it is on the ground.
I presume that I cannot add anything into this session but to explain that we will talk about in details about what we started in introduction, introduction of the speeches.
I’m inviting my guests, Olga Kyryliuk, Adam, please join us here.
As you please.
What we are talking on the first session, the name of the session is shattered neutrality: Internet at crossroads of war and geopolitics. So we spoke about war. We spoke a little bit about geopolitics. I’m wondering, because I’m a technical guy, I’m wondering whether ever there’s been any neutrality on Internet.
In reflection of what’s happening around, what was mentioned previously in the introduction speeches, I will ask firstly, for example, from political point of view, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri from European parliament, can you reflect on what we just heard and let’s go into details how the European Parliament is looking at Internet in the days of the war, and what are you doing regarding this situation right now in Europe?
>> MIAPETRA KUMPULA-NATRI: Thank you very much. As I’m a member of the European Parliament from Finland, I may also say welcome.
Yes, very good questions, is neutrality possible when we have this brutal war on our continent? People killed, civilian infrastructure destroyed, genocide happening. European Parliament, European Union is fighting on democracy, and that’s the value that we have to defend and that is the value we saw that Ukrainians are defending when they’re defending their own country and democracy.
So then, of course now, as you know, European Union, it is legislating, regulating also different parts of Internet and the main line is there to defend democracy as a value. It is even added to the AI act, that the AI applications on the market should help and not prevail democracy.
On that sense I think what we’re doing at the very same time is we understand going through the different layers on the Internet that we have to be more cyber resilient, also the countries supporting Ukraine are attacked. I like the way somebody described it, that Ukraine has been a boxing bag for so many years that they also have learned to live with cyberattacks and so has my country. Finland also was prepared for worse from our eastern neighbor when we started the application process for NATO, and then it was not very bad, and then it was later to be seen, that it is getting worse when we join NATO, now we have fully joined and it is annoying, but nothing very, very serious. I think there are many reasons there.
We have been prepared, but also mentally we are vaccinated so that we were prepared and the whole key question was openness. The ministries were very open. Cyber resilience centre, it was very open. So it is liaison statement like the Finnish jobs, when the computer doesn’t work, maybe the Russians again. So this is also the attitude that it doesn’t – that it should not paralyze Europe, ration war should not paralyze Ukrainians or us. I just want to say that I had the opportunity also to the – to have the presentation of the personal application, the citizens apps and it was so great because this really creates the sense that this is the nation that we want to join the European Union on this democratic principles.
So I’m thinking the three minutes to put it all in, I can underline everything, Stefan Lindstrom from the foreign ministry said, that it is many, many aspects that technology has brought to this modern times in the war, and the values in the bottom have not changed. We have to have people with their own democratic rights and that’s what Europe is standing for even though the technical questions.
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: Thank you.
You mentioned technical side, I think the perfect person to answer on a global scale, so Adam, how ICANN is doing with – let’s say battling with Ukrainian and the Russian war and this situation which is reflecting the whole world.
>> ADAM PEAKE: Is this microphone working? Good morning, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, I work for ICANN, and definitely not as prepared as Andril spoke about in Ukraine, I didn’t plug in my laptop overnight, if I run out of things to say, it is simply battery power.
I want to begin with something that happened about 480 days ago, ICANN received a letter from the Deputy Prime Minister of the Ukraine requesting that ICANN and our technical partners remove Russia from the global Internet, to remove the country code from the root servers, to revoke some certificates and so on. The response and please don’t take this as a glib instance or democratic response, it was a very hard decision, but the decision was from ICANN and also from others, they are here, they can talk about this, that’s not what we do. Our role in the Internet is to provide global connectivity, we develop policies with the global community to ensure there is a global, available resilient – that’s a word we heard earlier – stable and secure Internet and we denied that request to remove the country code, to remove – to affect the records within the rooted server system.
It was a hard decision to make. It is a decision that reflects how the Internet works. It’s global, it is decentralized, no single actor has the power or authority or the right to remove people or remove a country or other actor from the Internet.
These principles go to the heart of what the Internet is. It’s based on trust. You connect to the Internet as a network because you trust your peers, the people you are connecting with. You as an ISP, a provider of services, you will adopt the voluntary protocols developed by the Internet engineering taskforce.
If you break the trust, you start to undermine the whole principles of the Internet. A very hard decision, but one that is at the core of how the global Internet works itself.
Yeah. It is not an easy thing to talk about. It feels personally wrong, but technically, from the operation of the Internet correct. I think with that I can stop for a moment and we can continue. Thank you.
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: You can stop but I will not stop! We have in the audience Martin who was Chair of the ICANN board and my question to him, sorry to select you, a little bit to walk, so my question for you, it is how it was to get such question from Ukrainian government, how to address this question, and above all, did you have any such question in the history of ICANN?
>> Martin: Good morning, everybody in the room.
No. We did not have such a request before. Adam explained it very well. You see the correspondence on the ICANN website, we have been transparent about everything we do. Indeed, the war affected many of us personally, there was a lot of empathy for the Ukrainians being under siege in this way.
At the same time, it was clear us from the beginning that if we start doing this, where does it end? It is not our task to take things off the Internet, it is our task to facilitate the world to use the Internet. From that mission, which is guided by principles, policies that are established by the global multistakeholder community, there is nothing that gives us the right to say, well, if someone asks, you take any top level domain out of the root. So we have had to decline that request, and we have done so with full sympathy and explicitly.
Had we were warm hearted to see that the technical community in the world embraced it but also countries around the world accepted that as a proper response as such. At the same time, it made us even more aware that these things happen in the world, wars happen and that people get disconnected, citizens get disconnected, how can we help to make sure from within our mission to help, and that way we did decide at that time also to set up a fund to stimulate and to help citizens to get access to the Internet and we have given the full amount of the funds dedicated to Ukraine in the first year and unfortunately, we feel we will probably need that fund to be reused in the future again and again.
That’s from within our mission, helping people to get online, to take any fraility out of the line, so this is how we dealt with it.
We all care.
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: Thank you.
Martin said about Ukrainian citizens, let’s hear from the real life. So Olga Kyryliuk is here and the question is, how do you see, let’s say, what was happening to you, so what’s the real life from your eyes about this topic?
>> OLGA KYRULIUK: Thank you.
I think I should start by saying I do not really believe in the neutrality in any shape or form when it comes to war. When war happens, basically dis all areas of your life, just living black and white.
I also want for us all to understand that Internet is not a homogonies dimension and functioning on many different levels and probably if we can talk about Internet as a communication technology, which is bringing people together at the intersectional level that’s been explained, I want to focus more on the content layer, which is playing a huge role in the war which is Russia against Ukraine.
I think it would be fair to say that to this day Russia has shown the most horrible example of how Internet can be weaponized. Nowadays, Russia is using propaganda, especially propaganda disseminated on the Internet as one of the weapons for the war against Ukraine.
I also must say that propaganda which is used by Russia is multifaceted, not only happening by simple broadcasting with one state channel, it is happening on many different levels and also is happening through many different agents. I would not be so naive to say that for example people from Russia that are in this current circumstances, during the last 481 days of work, still posting about normal life, how they love their country. This is also something I don’t think should happen, you should either remain silent if you can show the empathy towards what the country is doing just across the border, killing people, torturing people, deporting kids, destroying the land. I also think that those people who kind of escaped from being somehow restricted inside Russia, they also are the agents of propaganda. If you look at Georgia, a few months ago, celebrating their independence day, and just a few months ago there was a political decision to resume direct flights with Russia. When the judge and President condemned this, Russians showed their face online, there was a lot of millions of comments coming online, rationally saying what is Georgia, a small country, who cares about why this country should raise its voice. Georgia seems to forget what happened to it just in 2008 and this can easily be repeated to this country. These are the people who already occupied part of Georgia and they now are trying similarly to try to find escaping in this country from mobilization.
There is influence from propaganda inside of the country and outside of the country. Last week we had the delegation of – this Delegation of African countries and when all of us receive the air raid silence on our mobiles and when people go to shelters, the African delegation says this information is untrue, there’s been shelling in Kiev and an hour after that, a massive destruction is reported over the country, the delegation is blind to that and this is all of the influence of propaganda. We can talk about many of these items but the time is over, we can continue after.
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: Thank you.
Let me just reflect on something, on technical level.
It will be somehow devastating to revoke certain aspects of let’s say country code top level domains from the network and above on let’s say level of users, of content, we hear a lot of misinformation, a lot of war as we have heard, and so is there anything that the European Parliament is doing regarding the content wise level?
>> MIAPETRA KUMPULA-NATRI: There will be applicable new laws on platforms and their responsibility as a DSA and DMA comes into power and start hopefully effecting the big platforms with the responsibility on the content and when there is something illegal or it is fake news to say. That’s very concrete and help.
Of course, there is online, offline world cannot be in any more separated. Like in Russia, mentioning the World War is a crime and it prevents the people to have opinion but also to pass on information and it is very old fashion law that you may not say something, and then the very same is then reseeded and repeated and information stopped. We are very much working on the media a lot, how to keep European media free and vital and multifaced is coming very close also on the information needs that the Internet is so quickly and in a massive scale expanding.
I want to emphasize this, that even when we talk of tech, when we talk about the content, the online, offline, it is a mixture all the time. So we should not forget the old ways of propaganda and the new ways of how to use it. Also then I think the kind of literacy and educational needs are there to understand the different ways. The good start we had here also, fake or – the manipulation of the pictures, what the new technology will bring along on the AI, so also we’re already saying people should be aware when using this, so deep fakes will be then something scary or – to think, or at least bringing the imagination on board. What we see, if Zelensky’’s voice or gesture is used to say comments or conditions and they’re just deep fake and spread in the Internet.
That’s why literacy is very important, and educated people to understand also this threat.
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: Thank you.
There is a slogan in ICANN, One World, One internet, so is it worth it to battle for One World, One Internet? Can you explain that from ICANN perspective?
>> OLGA KYRULIUK: Yes.
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: A little bit more.
>> ADAM PEAKE: Yes. Yes. I don’t think it was – yes. Probably – anyway.
Think of the last two, three years when we used the Internet to talk to loved ones and friends and to do our work and to receive education, to receive entertainment, to survive a global pandemic, the Internet was at the heart of that single global Internet that by and large we could trust and one of the things to go back to some of the points that Olga was saying, yes, people have sometimes escaped moral responsibility, but that’s a personal comment and I shouldn’t try to speak on that.
Yes. The global Internet is what holds our societies together now. It is what our societies are based on. We do need it, if we don’t trust this Internet then it fragments and there will be many sessions about fragmentation. That’s really the point of the response from the ICANN CEO and the board to the request from the Deputy Prime Minister, that if we responded to the request positively then it is something that you only do once, you only take something out of the global Internet one time. After that, you have broken the trust on which the Internet is based, and that would undermine the single global Internet and so it is the response I think we have.
There are other things there, I want to go back to a little bit of history, we have heard sessions, mention of the World Summit on Information Society. 20 years ago, one of the questions, one of the things that civil society that I was involved with at the time, we asked, we said that unilateral control of the root server system was not appropriate for the global system of the Internet. At the time the United States government did have the authority to make changes to authorize changes to the root server so that it would have been them 20 years ago that the Deputy Prime Minister wrote to. It was a concern because it was a concern that governments might start using the Internet and your presence on the Internet as a trade weapon and I’m not in any way suggesting that the United States may have done it. You can imagine the imaginary situation where a trade dispute was happening and you may say to the country take my country, the United Kingdom, there is a trade dispute, the U.S. says do this or we’ll take.uk out of the Internet. It was never going to happen, but it was always there as a potential and I think we have learned since ICANN took over the stewardship role in 2016 when they would ask that question, the answer was no. We will not remove that from the Internet. You have taken sort of a geopolitical possibility out of the equation, you know that you can trust this Internet and that’s why the global single Internet is so strong.
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: Thank you.
Olga, it is hard to ask you anything so positive in this time. I will try. How can Internet be used for a force of peace, for accountability, something like that?
>> OLGA KYRULIUK: Something like that. I think the problem –
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: Trying to pose a positive question.
>> OLGA KYRULIUK: The problem is not with the Internet, the problem is with how we use it and with the possibilities that it provides. Let’s say that’s still the issue of propaganda, every single technology which has come in at a certain point of time, it was eventually used to serve for the purposes of the war. We can remember the example of genocide in Rwanda, it was happening with broadcasting, this same thing is happening here, just Internet provides a lot of possibilities, it provides speed and it provides a huge scale, you can reach a huge number of people in just – it is a matter of seconds. Nowadays, there is such a huge amount of information and people really want to take an effort and to make a choice and to analyze and to compare the sources and to find various truth. It is easier to pick the first new source which is served to you by the government and this is a technology in itself, this is brain washing and change of mentality.
Still, I don’t know. There is a lot to say about positive things and I still want to say that we should focus on how we should tackle this propaganda issue, who should take the responsibility for this. This is that same kind of infection because I really liked what Miapetra Kumpula-Natri had mentioned, vaccinated to have the proper response to what was coming around the process of joining later. When COVID happened, everyone was scared, everyone was looking for the vaccine, everyone was trying to isolate, avoid the infection. Same thing happening with propaganda, infecting minds, a totally different way of thinking and different type of people. I’m sorry to bring this example, my fellow citizens, but when the war is over, we can put this social behavioral experiment in those territories which have been occupied from Russia starting in 2014 and people who have been living 9 years, totally cut infrastructurally from Ukrainian Internet, but also receiving only one source of information, they would be completely brainwashed and completely different people to whom they used to be just 9 years ago. This is just scary.
Many of these people are also around us who are reading this news and who believe in this news. I have a personal example which I could not understand to some point, and then I understood that it was a matter of our choice of which news we want to follow, in the early days of the invasion of Kiev region, in February of last year, and here I want to show that this is not only about people who are ignorant let’s say, who is not well educated, I have an example of very well-educated Ukrainians with whom we have shared the same basement, scared to see all of the shells flying above us, which we have sent the last message when we lost mobile connectivity and lost electricity and didn’t know what will be happening further. For me, I was thinking when this will be over, when the Ukrainian military will solve this and for these people to use rhetoric like Russians came to save us from Nazis, I was like really? Then I realized that the only source of information that these people are reading for years are Russian views and this is scary, changing the person totally. There should be a way to tackle this. There should be a way to find some solution of how to deal with propaganda. We can’t just allow it to flow over the Internet and pretend that nothing is happening.
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: Thank you.
Questions from the audience?
>> AUDIENCE: Hello dear speakers. I’m a YOUthDIGer. I have questions to all of you who want to answer, so at the beginning – by the beginning of the war, in the one hand, there was trying to sanctionize the Russian in the global, economic, financial, on the other hand, Russia makes its own word, own community with allies, with the small countries, which it has political power on them.
The same thing is happening with political issues or the others.
Russia somehow survives from the sanctions with the support of allies or neutral countries. So the question is, if we think of steps against Russia in the cyber issues, digital – the digital world, is there a political way by European Parliament, international political community, and the technological way to do something to make Russia alone and encounter the allies with the sanctions, those kind of steps toward Russia. Thank you.
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: Who will take this.
>> MIAPETRA KUMPULA-NATRI: The sanctions were first against individuals who were in charge of crossing the border which is against all international agreements and basis for our peace and stability. The technological sanctions we were taking in order not to make Russia so easily – so easy to kill the people with the weapons. Unfortunately, the whole world is not seeing that and there is a big, big role for the propaganda that’s been taken on European history of colonization, all our immigration policies were turned and used in a very efficient way, for example, in the South and neighbor countries, in Africa.
Of course it is also a challenge, if people are in hunger, not having a the crops taken from Russia, saying it is our sanctions that do effect this one, even though at the same time we were actively in the west and Europe finding together with the UN and Turkiye, to find ways to get transportations so people can survive and not die in famine in the African countries.
So the real need for the real picture, it is very important and that is also what I see that one Internet has a chance, is there any way to use it for the peace, it is that you have trusted information and you would get the pictures and believe the pictures and that’s why also we are actively helping Ukraine to document what’s happening in future court cases, tribunes, so that people have to pay what they have been using but very concrete way, also monetary way to do that. We’ll need the whole global resource and that is very clear for the Europeans, that if international order cannot be trusted, then there is not a safe place in the world and then there’s the thought that with the weapons they can do what they want.
>> OLGA KYRULIUK: I think I would say that no single sanction can make Russians feel the same pain that we feel when we lose our loved ones, when they destroy our cities to the ground, when you just wake up in the morning and you don’t have your house tomorrow morning, or maybe you don’t wake up, in the morning, you really don’t know. Still I don’t think they understand what the sanctions mean.
I have – I had – I would not call them anymore friends before the war in Russia, the only pain they were feeling and complaining and still many people are complaining the only pain is about sanctions, about not having access to some online services, and platforms and they do not realize this is actually the constant – the consequences of their actions.
What also what Miapetra Kumpula-Natri had mentioned about, import of grain, this is again how Russia is – this is our government, doing through the struggles to negotiate the deals to make this export of grain to Africa, when you come to Africa, Africa is saying this is what Russia is delivering us, the grain, when we under the constant shelling, under all of the grain fields, we try do that and still to deliver world hung, this is still Russia serving the grain because this is said in the news.
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: Thank you.
Another question from the audience.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you very much.
I’m with the United Kingdom chapter of the Internet Society but I will speak on my own behalf.
I wanted to add something that my friend and colleague Martin from ICANN had said before with regards to any previous instances of ICANN having to act to either seize domains or act on matters of top-level domains, if in fact there was an issue that took place in 2014 where a class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. D.C. court which asked for the countries of North Korea, Syria and I think it was Iran, state sponsors of terrorism as they said in the lawsuit, and they asked for tonight top level domains, code domains to be seized and they were ruled to not be property, a bit like postal codes, so you can’t seize postal codes, I would imagine that this ruling still stands until today. So you could also perhaps extend this to IP addresses, these are all just post codes that are addressing effectively and seizing them, acting on these, it is obviously different than acting on property.
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: Thank you.
We have just a second online question.
>> Unmute yourself and raise your question to the audience.
I will read the question here now how does multilingualism being promoted to reduce what Olga calls propaganda, how much of the lack of multilingualism contributed to the conflict and he’s referring to that multilingualism on the Internet.
>> OLGA KYRULIUK: A lot. I would say this is very important and this is what Ukraine started to put a lot of emphasis with this specifically.
I think we really underestimated the importance of having alternative – I mean, not alternative, alternative to Russian, but fact checked and the real news which would provide also information not only let’s say in Ukrainian and we had a lot in Russian also, and in English, let’s say in other languages which would be available to international community and this is changing a lot nowadays, a lot of Ukrainian media outlets are providing also other news in other languages and I believe this is really important.
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: Nee question.
>> AUDIENCE: I was struck by all of the references to misinformation, I wanted to bring a reality check, I find it troubling, startling, I took the latest poll, the last polling organization about the war, so you can think about this.
The first question, it was what was the cause of the conflict, 56% say it is unprovoked aggression by Russia, 44, response from NATO against Russia. What’s the European strategy, 46% continue the war, 21% sends more weapons and 54% says stop supporting the war, just get peace now and let Russia keep all of the territories that they have just conquered.
Who should Italy stand with, 45% say Ukraine, 8% say Russia, 47% say none of the two. And the final question, exactly on the point, so it is a report by the media, is it fair or manipulated. 10% says it is manipulated in favor of Russia. 27% say it is fair. 53% says it is manipulated in favor of Ukraine.
So this is just within the E.U. Then the Finnish government representative had said, 150 countries that don’t want to take a stand and basically continue to be neutral. What’s the problem here? I mean, is this really a problem of misinformation, so we should control the content introduced, political checks on what we see around and maybe there is another cause, the censorship that is not unwarranted. I really cannot make up an opinion, when I see asking for more censorship, I start to have doubts.
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: So it wasn’t a question. It was a comment.
>> AUDIENCE: Is this just misinformation or –
>> MIAPETRA KUMPULA-NATRI: As a politically elected person, I always wonder how people vote, and then, of course, there is a freedom of opinion and a political elections should be really, really protected. That’s what we can get help on the technical side to see that the elections are fair, that they are not the results manipulated. It is one stepmother difficult to analyze whether the media is manipulated, who owns the media, is it the freedom of the press index high, that’s also what I meant, that online, offline worlds, they go different, we have governments that do own the media, control the media, and that’s not perfect democracy then, even they are elected because the people should have the informed choice and there you need broad media, not only one controlled by the government or owned by a few people either.
Having this good media coverage gives you the better democracy and better governments than also to be there. And then it is also then reflecting the picture that you’re taking. We see unfortunately a raise of nationalism in Europe, we have had our two wars on the continent, in the past century, I really hope that this century is not facing the same even though now we have it on the continent, not on – not really much inside of the European Union that has these rules and basic ideas of the rule of law which is now underlined very much.
The Italian figures also are reflecting the political reality that you were wearing the t-shirts of Putin, being proud of saying that, and then also internally saying that why should I care of someone else as my electricity bill may get higher. Also this is a challenge for the Europeans to keep mood high, to stand with the Ukraine, because of inflation, other challenges that might come.
I’m still quite happy that on this day, 481, that we’re not tired because sometimes the news disappears and people get tired of something and I bring last week with American colleagues, opinions already saying that they should pay, should they stand, use their dollars, and then still the leaderships on the parliament said you have to decide which side you are, are you in fair of the democratic nations and the world or are you ready to sacrifice democracy? That’s why I started with that one also. There is no one answer really, really for that question.
>> It is a history of lack of information, it has been going on a decade, I didn’t know you were trafficker traveling east, providing legal services for people that have been displaced in-house, and I quite – I spend far too much time on my phone, Twitter, various newspaper, and I wasn’t as informed as you should have about. It is not really surprising that the information hasn’t got through. Is it lack of truth? It is not. It is just that we somehow have ignored this until it became one of the most hour risk events we have seen in many years. It is not just misinformation, we should ask our media why they have not covered this to the extended that they should and ask them not to get tired of it and not to worry if we’re horrified of it. We should be horrified of it and reminded of it.
>> OLGA KYRULIUK: I want to quickly say that I always feel uncomfortable with this kind of a pulse, this is not a lottery to ask a question like who should we – what amount of territory, what part of territory we should give up for peace to be established. At the end, this is about our lives and about our country. I also think this is not only the issue of misinformation, this is also the issue that this is very difficult to relate on personal level to something which you have never importanced. I don’t think – I strongly think no one should experience war in their lifetime, but I can say for myself, I probably never felt enough empathy toward other conflicts and what was happening around the world until it came to my own home. This is only the moment when you fully understand how horrible it is and what are the consequences that it brings to you.
So it is not only misinformation, it is just sometimes when you scroll the news, you have the morning coffee, it may feel unpleasant reading this news with war, you switch the page, read some entertaining stuff.
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: Thank you.
One question quick and closing remarks, we have only 2 minutes left.
>> AUDIENCE: Okay. Thank you. I’m a fellow YOUthDIGer, my question is regarding how the E.U. analyzes the current efforts because Ukraine has pretty much at least in the bubble and social media that I consume managed to put its narrative out there and dominate with – yeah, narrative, tell its story – since the E.U., a lot of countries have struggled in the past to get the message out there, how does the E.U. analyze the current efforts and how will it affect the European contingency plans or how the European Parliament, the Commission can better address audiences online and in the future?
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: Can you repeat?
>> MIAPETRA KUMPULA-NATRI: You wanted to ask the E.U. opinion pulse in Ukraine or the opinions that develop in the social media in Ukraine or –
>> AUDIENCE: Ukraine is kind of dominating the narrative, like they’re winning so to say the narrative side of the war in our Western media. Since this is no, sir always the case, is the E.U. analyzing how they achieved this, is it because of messaging, all of that, and how does this effect European communications, narratives, all of these other parts of the news cycle?
>> MIAPETRA KUMPULA-NATRI: I only can say that this is the role of the media to interview different sides, the military forces analysis is about, what are the narratives that the politicians wants to give, so then we can read and inform the whole picture, this is not politically to say that Ukraine is giving the wrong narrative and it is not doing this or that. It is, of course, important that the politicians, that they have their own narratives and their different – giving other ones. This is not the content moderating that I would use at all.
>> DUSAN STOJICEVIC: We’re out of time.
I must apologize for the question, there will be a lot of talks about this.
>> NADIA TJAHJA: We don’t have the time to go into it, we have to prepare for the next session. It is clear it is an important topic that we can – that we have to continue this discussion and that’s why I would like to welcome you back in about 15 minutes to rejoin the conversation and I hope that our speakers and thank you so very much to the moderator for leading this amazing conversation and discussion and I hope we can continue this during the break but also through the entirety of EuroDIG.
Thank you very much.