'Post-truth' was named word of the year by the Oxford Dictionary, and we were forced to consider the scenario that we might be also witnessing the sudden and shocking death of expertise. But to confine this issue to recent memory is to overlook the ways in which the authority of facts has been in decline for some time. A free press might provide some resistance to the excesses of populist demagogy, but not to the broader crisis of facts. Some experts think that the problem lies with information overload in 21st century - too many sources competing for attention from audiences who have a decreasing capacity to discern and assimilate. Facts and opinions are often considered to be equally valid. Feelings win over evidence.
What does this mean for future debates on policy choices, and how can researchers achieve meaningful impact in such a landscape? Academics have always been a point of reference for facts and trustworthy data, how do these changes challenge their role and influence? Do they have to adapt and if so, how?
This will be one of side-events of a biennial conference “The Riga StratCom Dialogue: Perception Matters”, that will take place in the National Library of Latvia, from July 5-6. Events are organised by Riga-based NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, which is also a home for the academic journal “Defence Strategic Communications”.
More information about the event and speakers and the registration form is available here.