Disinformation sites have operated in democracies for many years. In many cases, it is not only innocent falsehoods that spread rapidly in society or malicious self-persuasion by a few individuals that, for example, “the earth is flat.”

Shortly after the Russian military attack on Ukraine, a wave of criticism arose when the government blocked several disinformation sites. to allegations of dangerous censorship that would take us back to a time when there was no freedom of speech. Critics were also heard to say that the institution of freedom of expression had been undermined and that this was an attack on democracy. This is a misunderstanding on the part of critics of the importance of such decisions. In fact, censorship also plays a role in democratic societies.

Křižovatka dezinformací

Dictatorships are quite logically hostile to democratic societies. This is because the standard of living of ordinary citizens in totalitarian regimes is not comparable to that of democracies. This is why totalitarian regimes need to define themselves against democracy. Hoaxes are a very effective way to undermine free thought in the world. Hoaxes spread rapidly through the Internet and always find an audience willing to believe them. All it takes is a lack of critical thinking and the convenience of consumers to check sources. They wind up on the Internet through their friends as an avalanche of other consumers, creating a confident community. The bigger the community, the stronger it is. For certain parties, it is a welcome political force that they can control to secure their own interests.

In addition to free speech, every society has rules by which it is governed. Therefore, it is necessary to be able to distinguish between free speech and the intent to mislead in order to harm someone. There is sometimes only a fine line between the two. Democracies have let disinformation websites attack each other for years in order to avoid crossing that line. This has had tangible consequences: in 2016, for example, there was a referendum on the UK\’s membership of the European Union, with a fairly close result: only 51.9% voted in favor of leaving the EU. At that time, there was a campaign by both pro- and anti-EU groups, in which disinformation websites played an important role. Even if their information proved to be wrong over time, it would not change the outcome of the vote.

Russia\’s totalitarian regime instigated the war in Ukraine, where civilians, including children, die daily in shelling and city bombings. About this, Russia lies and forbids objective reporting with threats of imprisonment. Russia is not only waging war against Ukraine, it is waging war against the entire democratic world. In addition to the Russian dictator\’s desire to rebuild the Russian empire along CCCP lines, his motivation for starting the war was his fear of the changes that were taking place in Ukraine. Ukraine\’s free democratic society without oligarchic structures could be a dangerous stimulus for change in Russia.

Nepravdivé zprávy

In wartime, sometimes quick decisions are necessary, and blocking disinformation websites is one of them. As a result, the question arises whether there is another way to solve the problem that does not interfere with free speech. But this is a matter of time, and in the present circumstances we cannot afford to do so. For allowing the enemy to move in this direction here could have negative consequences. Indeed, shortly after economic sanctions were imposed on Russia, the answer came in the form of a new hoax.

CNB began taking steps to revoke the license of Sberbank\’s Czech branch. This was due to a large outflow of deposits. This occurred due to the political situation and economic sanctions against the Russian economy, of which Sberbank is a part. These conditions and the rapid outflow of customers led to the closure of the bank\’s financially sound Czech branch. Then came the hoax attacking another, this time strong and healthy European bank. The false warning was that this bank was next. Those who had accounts with the bank were told that they would lose money if they did not withdraw their money quickly. Of course, that did not happen. But any bank can have problems if it has a large number of customers who lack critical thinking.

In addition to conventional warfare, Russia is waging a so-called hybrid war. It is attempting to divide society and influence thinking. Under the current circumstances, the government cannot allow disinformation websites to operate freely.