Presidency's Director of Communications, Fahrettin Altun, sent a message to the Panel on "Information Security in Election Processes in the World", in which he underlined that disinformation constitutes one of the greatest challenges to global security and stability.
Director of Communications Altun said this panel would provide an opportunity to share important ideas and experiences in the fields of election and information security.
Noting that the concept of security incorporates both the safeguarding of moral values and tangible assets, Director of Communications Altun said that fundamental human rights and liberties, as well as an awareness of pluralist democracy, are among the most essential of our moral values that must be protected.
Director of Communications Altun stated that it is essential to safeguard the public's access to accurate information to ensure the proper functioning of democratic institutions and procedures, and continued as follows:
"Unfortunately, in the current post-truth era, fundamental human rights and liberties, as well as the principles of democracy, are under threat on a global scale. Today, hybrid wars that emerged as a result of global power struggles have increased the significance of communication and information concepts. Malicious actors engage in various propaganda activities and disinformation campaigns to distort the national and international public's perception of reality.
Such activities result in information pollution, with the intent of misleading and demoralizing the public. The fact that social perception is shaped by disinformation activities causes the public to abandon scientific facts and truths in favour of emotional orientations. As a result of disinformation campaigns, the public is misinformed on a variety of issues, ranging from politics to the economy; and democratic structures and fundamental human rights and liberties are being eroded."
"Disinformation constitutes one of the greatest challenges to global security and stability"
Director of Communications Altun noted that globalization and the spread of social media have facilitated disinformation activities and expanded their sphere of influence, saying that disinformation currently constitutes one of the greatest challenges to global security and stability.
Director of Communications of Altun indicated that Internet and social media, which people utilize to obtain information and communicate, can be exploited by malicious actors for activities that undermine democracy, noting that information pollution is created by techniques such as big data, digital profiling, digital analytics and micro-targeting based on the digital traces left on these platforms.
Noting that the debates over election processes in various Western countries over the last several years have revealed how critical it is to combat disinformation in order for democratic institutions to operate, Director of Communications Altun continued:
"This situation evolved in the West with scandals such as Cambridge Analytica and became known as a global concern. Moreover, we are continuously exposed to disinformation campaigns enabled by technology in our country, and we strive to ensure that they do not undermine our democracy. Access to objective and accurate information by the public is a prerequisite for the smooth operation of democratic institutions and processes, and elections in particular. In this context, ensuring election security can only be guaranteed by creating a robust information environment that prevents information pollution. Otherwise, the public's ability to access accurate information will be limited, and the elections will be open to the interference of malicious actors."
Emphasis on the significance of cooperation
Director of Communications Altun underlined that the fight against disinformation is not a threat to democracy and freedom of the press; on the contrary, it is the guarantee of democracy and freedom of the press.
Highlighting that, from this perspective, it is critical to regulate both social and conventional media, prevent disinformation and ensure the smooth functioning of democratic processes, Director of Communications Altun noted that they believe that international cooperation is the key to combating disinformation, as it is for all other global challenges.
Director of Communications Altun said, "We consider acting in cooperation and harmony with other world democracies in ensuring election security and preventing disinformation as a necessity for the survival of democracy.
Noting that the Presidency's Directorate of Communications has been tasked with detecting psychological operations, propaganda and perception management operations conducted against our country, as well as taking action against all forms of manipulation and disinformation, Director of Communications Altun said that this task is crucial to the preservation and advancement of pluralist democracy in our country, especially in terms of election security.
Director of Communications Altun emphasized that under the umbrella of the Centre for Combating Disinformation, which they have established within the scope of this task, they respond immediately to lies, saying that they release weekly disinformation bulletins and inform the public of the truth in response to fake news that seeks to disrupt social order and stability.
Director of Communications Altun added that they believe it is essential to share their experience in this field with other countries and learn from theirs in order to prevent disinformation.