Transitions Forum

The information age is turning into the disinformation age. From Vladimir Putin’s use of media to hallucinate a war into reality in Ukraine, through to ISIS’ snuff videos and China’s ‘internet ushers’ to control social media, the 21st century is seeing a new intensity and scale of media manipulation and psychological war.

Propaganda is as old as the Iliad, but the speed and scale of technological advances, a more liquid use of ideology by authoritarian regimes, and the development of information war theories which envisage defeating the enemy without ever firing a shot, mean that the challenge is being redefined. In the words of Russian media guru Vassily Gatov: “If the greatest battle of the 20th century was the battle for freedom of information, against censorship, then the battle in the 21st will concern the abuse of freedom of information, the use of information as a weapon by authoritarian rulers and aggressive non-state actors”.

At the same time, the West is finding it increasingly difficult to project democratic values or guarantee its own non-kinetic security. The institutions that were meant to tell the story of liberal democracy, from the BBC World Service to the BBG in the US, have been depleted. And even if they could find the means to communicate more effectively, what story should they tell?

The Legatum Institute's Beyond Propaganda series helps media, experts and the general public to be better equipped against media manipulation across the world, and will inform the work of policy-makers looking for innovative ways to win the ‘information war’.

 Upcoming Events

  • Further events to be confirmed soon


Facts We Can Believe In: How to Make Fact-Checking Better [PDF]

By Alistair Shawcross

October 2016


How to Stop Disinformation: Lessons from Ukraine for the Wider World [PDF]

By Marina Pesenti and Peter Pomerantsev

August 2016

Factual Entertainment: How to Make Media Literacy Popular [PDF]

By Paul Copeland

August 2016

Winning the Information War: Techniques and Counter-Strategies to Russian Propaganda in Central and Eastern Europe [PDF]

By Peter Pomerantsev and Edward Lucas

Published by the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in partnership with the Legatum Institute

August 2016


Cyber Propaganda: From How to Start a Revolution to How to Beat ISIS [PDF]

By Katrina Elledge, David Patrikarakos, Charlie Winter

November 2015

Information at War: From China’s Three Warfares to NATO’s Narratives [PDF]

By Laura Jackson, Timothy Thomas, Mark Laity and Ben Nimmo

September 2015

Counter Propaganda Past and Present: From the Reformation to Putin’s Russia [PDF]

By Nicholas J. Cull

July 2015

The New Authoritarians: Ruling Through Disinformation [PDF]

By Daniel Lansberg-Rodríguez, Berivan Orucoglu, Gary Rawnsley and Abigail Fielding-Smith. Introduction by Peter Pomerantsev

June 2015

Past Events

How to Stop ISIS and Defeat the Global Conspiracy

With Srdja Popovic, Charlie Winter, Katrina Elledge, Rashad Ali, Anne Applebaum and Peter Pomerantsev

23 November 2015

Event details here

Laura Jackson

21st Century Information War: How Should NATO and Democratic Governments Respond?

With Ben Nimmo, Laura Jackson, Mark Laity and Peter Pomerantsev

22 September 2015

Event details here

Nicholas Cull_150x150

Counter Propaganda Past and Present: From the Reformation to Putin's Russia

With Nicholas J. Cull, John O'Loan and Peter Pomerantsev

24 July 2015

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The New Authoritarians - Ruling Through Disinformation

With Abbie Fielding-Smith, Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez, Yevhen Hlibovytsky and Peter Pomerantsev

22 June 2015

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Is There a Future for Ukraine?

With Yevhen Hlibovytsky

13 March 2015

Event details here

Battling Russian Propaganda: On the Front Line of Ukraine’s Information War

With Nataliya Gumenyuk

5 March 2015

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Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia

With Peter Pomerantsev, Legatum Institute and Ferdinand Mount, political commentator

11 February 2015

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Tackling Iranian Propaganda Through Online Education

With Mariam Memarsadeghi, Tavaana

3 February 2015

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The Menace of Unreality: Combatting Russian Disinformation in the 21st Century

With Geoffrey Pyatt, Oleksander Scherba, Michael Weiss and Peter Pomerantsev

30 October 2014

Event details here