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Renowned experts speak at an international conference in Tartu of the threat to democracy posed by disinformation

On Friday, 20 May, the international conference “Disinformation in the digital age. Effects on democracy, state, and society.” will be held in Tartu, with world-renowned top experts speaking of the threat to democracy posed by the spread of disinformation.

The spread of disinformation is not a new phenomenon but has been exacerbated by its circulation through social media platforms and powered by AI. Disinformation by digital means can, by its size and sophistication, threaten the bases and essential elements of democracy, the institutions and processes of the state, and the cohesion and proper functioning of society.

“Disinformation has today become a global topic of concern and a critical challenge. It casts a shadow over the integrity of public debate and elections, undermining citizens’ trust in democratic institutions and posing additional challenges during crisis situations like global pandemic and war. It also negatively impacts the accuracy and reliability of the information that feeds public opinion. Digital disinformation is even more threatening when originating abroad. No country or society is immune to such influence,” said Robert Krimmer, Professor of E‑governance, explaining the theme of the conference.

The Eastern Partnership e-governance conference in Tartu will discuss the possible ways to mitigate the problems of disinformation in the digital age, reduce the divide in public opinion and burst the filter bubbles, and how AI can be used to overcome shortcomings and provide solutions for this eminent issue endangering democracy itself.

The keynote speech will be made by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. The top expert speakers include Urska Umek from the Council of Europe, international election observation expert Armin Rabitsch from the University of Innsbruck, Marcin Walecki from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and Beata Martin-Rozumilowicz, adviser to the European Commission.

The conference will be conducted in English and Russian, with simultaneous translation. Participation in the conference is free. However, pre-registration is mandatory. The conference will be held in an open format enabling exchanges between the representatives of governments, academia, and civil society.

The conference is organised by the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu, with the support of the European Commission.

For more information, please visit the conference website. The agenda is also available on https://eceps.ut.ee/research/eap-conference.

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