Government disinformation in war and conflict

Crilley, R. and Chatterje-Doody, P. N. (2021). Government disinformation in war and conflict. In: Tumber, H. and Waisbord, S. eds. The Routledge Companion to Media Disinformation and Populism. Routledge, pp. 242–252.



This chapter provides an insight into government disinformation in war and conflict. More recent scholarship defines propaganda as ‘the deliberate manipulation of representations with the intention of producing any effect in the audience that is desired by the propagandist’. In what is considered one of the foundational texts for understanding modern war and conflict, Clausewitz notes that a 'great part of the information obtained in war is contradictory, a still greater part is false, and by far the greatest part is of a doubtful character'. Subsequently, approaches interested in propaganda, framing, or strategic narrative may be interested in looking at how specific instances of disinformation are deployed by governments at war or in evaluating the truthfulness of certain claims made by governments in conflicts. Whether studied through the lens of propaganda, framing, strategic narratives, or discourse, the people now need to account for the contemporary dynamics of digital communication when studying disinformation during war.

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