Sweden joins NATO strategic communications centre to combat disinformation

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Sweden's Interior Minister Anders Ygeman addresses a press conference in Stockholm on November 11, 2015. (Henrik Montgomery /AFP/Getty Images)
Sweden’s Interior Minister Anders Ygeman addresses a press conference in Stockholm on November 11, 2015. (Henrik Montgomery /AFP/Getty Images)
Sweden is joining the Nato Strategic Communications Centre (Stratcom) as part of its efforts to combat disinformation.

Sweden has previously expressed interest in joining Stratcom, the Nato strategic communications centre of excellence, and on Thursday the government formally decided to do so.

Minister for Home Affairs Anders Ygeman said he wants to cooperate with countries in the neighbouring region in combating disinformation.

“We will not be part of anyone’s propaganda. What we will do, however, is to increase our own knowledge and capacity and we will contribute to increasing the knowledge and capacity of other countries in the world,” Ygeman said.

Strengthening defence

On a national level, the Swedish Agency for Public Management has been given the task of investigating what can be done by Swedish authorities in order to strengthen the country’s defence.

“We need a firmer confirmation of which authorities bear responsibility in this area and we also need a review of which authorities bear what responsibility,” Ygeman said.

Attempts to influence political debate in Sweden are on the rise, according to Ygeman. For instance, forged letters allegedly written by Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist have been circulating, with the aim of influencing the image of Sweden, and Russia reportedly has centres from which incorrect information and rumours are being spread via social media.

Ongoing work

The Swedish Contingencies Agency and the Security Service are two of the authorities that will be involved in the work against disinformation.

“There is ongoing work, but at the same time the number of platforms for those wanting to influence Sweden and Swedish interests have increased, and that is why we must achieve a much better capacity to uncover these types of disinformation campaigns, but we also need to meet them with a counter message,” Ygeman said.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada’s defence review and the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Finland:  Finnish Air force to take part in joint Finnish-Swedish-US military exercises, Yle News

Norway:  Norway patrolling Russia’s military activity in Arctic with new intelligence vessel, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia:  Paratrooper exercises over Arctic Russia, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden:  NATO membership not for Sweden: Ministers, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. general says Alaska military cuts not final without Arctic plan, Alaska Public Radio Network

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