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Thomas Kent Interviewed about the World Information War
June 11, 2023

The Journal of Policy and Strategy published an interview with Thomas Kent (Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs) about the world information war. Kent is the former President and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

From the interview:

Q. What do you believe are the most effective methods the United States can use to combat the deliberate spread of misinformation about the war in Ukraine?


A. The United States and its allies have been pretty successful recently with “prebunking”– anticipating, and publicly warning about, actions that Russia may take. When the Kremlin was vociferously denying that it intended to invade Ukraine, the United States declared that they would—and predicted the timing almost to the day. This tactic often requires declassifying information obtained from sensitive sources—and though it may not force a change in an opponent’s behavior if that opponent is bent on conquest, it’s worth it in terms of the information effect.


I’m also a big believer in the potential of local non-government groups who actively combat disinformation and campaign for democracy in at-risk countries.2 Some of these activists are out on social networks, punching it out on social networks, punching it out with trolls and bots. Others run media literacy classes, or focus on reaching elderly people who are often vulnerable to disinformation. They develop software to unmask troll and bot networks so social platforms can take them down. They campaign for advertisers to boycott disinformation sites.


They are extremely courageous. Their members often work at significant personal risk in countries where political violence is common.