Sweden can learn off Nato in propaganda war

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Sweden is considering joining StratCom, a Nato cyber defence think-tank created to fight propaganda and disinformation on social media and more traditional news outlets.  

Sweden is looking into joining the NATO cooperation group to improve its ability to analyze propaganda and disinformation in the social media world, reports Swedish Radio News.

"We need more skills and this is a new environment, a new arena, where many things are happening connected with disinformation. You utilize this for different purposes to affect public opinion in other countries. That's why we need to strengthen our skills but also participate in an environment with other countries,," says Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist (S) to Swedish Radio News.

He said that Sweden would not contribute in areas of spreading disinformation and propaganda in cyber space.

The Nato Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence (NATO StratCom COE) was started in January 2014. It has seven signed up members - Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

The centre has mainly focused on how Russia uses propaganda, but it has also looked at the Islamic State and how Nato should exploit the available information channels.

A Swedish delegation from Society and Defence (Folk and Försvar), visited the centre in Riga on October 14th to learn more about its future plans.

Oscar Jonsson, a PHD candidate in war studies at Kings College, London, says Sweden lost its ability in this type of strategic communications after the Cold War.  

"This is an area where we are not too far advanced and it's a good opportunity to cooperate with Nato and the strategic centre. Sweden is not advanced in this because we kind of lost it after the Cold War," he tells Radio Sweden. 

Sweden is not a member of Nato but has a number of broad cooperation agreements with the military defence Alliance.