Editorial: doubts are beaten by facts alone

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Photo: ITAR-TASS / Scanpix

As shown by fresh report of International Centre of Defence Studies, Russians in Estonia do not take information presented by neither Russian, Estonian nor Western media at face value but feel major doubts regarding it all. 

This is to verify two earlier reports. Last September, a study presented by Open Estonia Foundation featured the timely and hot issue of who was responsible for the Malaysian passenger plane shot down above East-Ukraine. While media space did affect views, remarkably a half of locals – both Estonian (40 percent) and Russian speakers (47 percent) – were unable to take a stand.

And also remarkably: among those most exposed to Russian channels, doubters were most abundant at almost 60 percent.

Crucially, the group watched not the Russian channels only but follower lots of others. Thus, a link is seen between viewability and reliability of the Russian or any channels.

Why so was explained by the other dating November last year, based on analyses by journalists Michael Weiss and Peter Pomerantsev. The report found that the mainly state controlled Russian media is not aimed at providing truthful information nor even to forward ideological propaganda, but to create in consumers of media doubts regarding truthfulness of any information.

Thus: more information will not always equal more knowledge; in info attacks, this spells more confusion and distrust, distrust also towards the traditional media. How in this situation do we take truthful and verified information to people and do it credibly, has been a matter for brainstorming for almost a year at conferences and gatherings.

The best solution reached thus far is rather simple: the answer can only be more of verified and truthful information. The responsibility thus laid on media even in Estonia is great. We’ll try to carry the load.