Misinformation and Information Manipulation in Pre-Election Messages of Candidates from Latvian Political Parties

https://doi.org/10.22364/ms22.11 | pp. 98-103 | PDF

Mārtiņš Pričins
University of Latvia 

Abstract. Separating truth from lies has become the defining issue of our time. It has become a problem that affects the quality of our democracy, life, way of thinking. Such circumstances raise the bar of responsibility for communicators, but as a result of mistakes or deliberate deception, the reputation of political actors, institutions or media organizations may be negatively affected. The aim of the report is to describe examples of manipulation of information by candidates of Latvian political parties. The research question of the study is: what types of information manipulation can be found in Latvian political communication practice and what has influenced the spread of examples of information manipulation? More and more studies show that democracy is threatened not only by disinformation, but also by systematic manipulation of information by political actors. Efforts to influence the attitudes of voters, journalists or political opponents in order to achieve political goals are recorded. Information manipulation utilizes various types of content to influence, disrupt or distort the information ecosystem. The work uses the multiple case study approach, with the help of which the manipulation of information by political actors in the practice of political communication in recent years is characterized. The results of the study show that in the reviewed time period, the cases are mostly related to the malicious activity of social media users and the insufficient media literacy of society, including media professionals and politicians. Considering the development of technology, it can be predicted that more complex information manipulations may also appear in Latvia, therefore it would be necessary to offer wider, comprehensive media literacy training to the public, as well as to raise the average level of political knowledge, which can be promoted with a broader media content about political processes and political actors, participants of political communication wider justification for their actions and decisions.

Keywords: information manipulation, misinformation, political communication, political candi­dates, social media

In: Media and Society, 2022. Proceedings of Scientific Papers = Mediji un sabiedrība, 2022. Rakstu krājums. Riga, University of Latvia, 2023. 173 p.