Censorship and wartime propaganda

A Free Speech Union opinion piece by Daphna Whitmore

It was Napoleon who pioneered the use of mass propaganda and censorship in war. He produced self-flattering battlefield bulletins which were published in newspapers throughout France. Having seen the power of the press he then imposed censorship to stop “the manifestation of ideas which trouble the peace of the state, its interests and good order”. 

All wars use political ideology as a weapon. The enemy “spreads propaganda” while our side “informs and educates”. 

In Russia there is a “fake news law” with a 15 year jail term for acts such as calling the Ukraine invasion a “war”. Much of Russia’s independent media have closed down, unable to operate under such repressive conditions.

To avoid falling foul of the law the Chinese-owned platform Tiktok has suspended videos from Russia. In addition, Facebook and Instagram have been blocked by Putin’s censors, leaving some Russian lifestyle influencers quite distraught. 

Meanwhile in the West it is more likely to be the tech giants and media corporations doing the censoring, rather than the state.  Read the rest of the article here.