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Lawfare Podcast – Arbiters of Truth: How Open-Source Investigators are Documenting the War in Ukraine


Arbiters of Truth is a weekly podcast on disinformation and misinformation. Hosts Evelyn Douek, Quinta Jurecic, and Alina Polyakova interview experts about the legal and policy aspects of the debates around political discourse, online speech and social media platforms playing out in the headlines. You can find it in the Lawfare podcast feed on Thursdays.

March 24,2022

Over the last few weeks, we’ve talked a lot about the war in Ukraine on this series—how the Russian, Ukrainian and American governments are leveraging information as part of the conflict; how tech platforms are navigating the flood of information coming out of Ukraine and the crackdown from the Kremlin; and how open-source investigators are documenting the war

This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information environment, we’re going to talk about getting information into Russia during a period of rapidly increasing repression by the Russian government. Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Thomas Kent, a former president of the U.S. government-funded media organization Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, who now teaches at Columbia University. He recently wrote an essay published by the Center for European Policy Analysis on “How to Reach Russian Ears,” suggesting creative ways that reporters, civil society and even the U.S. government might approach communicating the truth about the war in Ukraine to Russians. This was a thoughtful and nuanced conversation about a tricky topic—whether, and how, democracies should think about leveraging information as a tool against repressive governments, and how to distinguish journalism from such strategic efforts.

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