Disinformation as a Tool Aimed at Weakening Consolidated Democracies
This scholarly article indicates threats to the stability of political systems of consolidated democracies resulting from disinformation. The article presents threats resulting from the effects of disinformation in four areas: state, society, politics and law. The authors demonstrate the exposure of society to manipulative effects of fake news, which affects human emotions, reasoning and behaviour due to the use of created images of reality. It has been pointed out that fake news as a targeted manipulation tool, while aiming to achieve its goals, exploits the imperfections of the human mind. For this reason, the individual and thus the society need support to protect themselves from the manipulative threat coming from this phenomenon. Protection from fake news must be provided with the respect of freedom of expression, the values of society, the individuals’ liberties as well as legal rights. Disinformation is not a new phenomenon in itself, but the development of the Internet and social media allows for an unprecedented scale of social manipulation. The article also indicates that disinformation is often directed at civil liberties and destabilises the principles of social life and citizens’ trust in public institutions, authorities or the media, regardless of whether its source is third countries or it is “produced” internally. In a democratic state a citizen should be able to make informed decisions and independently assess whether the information encountered in the social media is true or false.