(Room) 101. Peter Pomerantsev on the War Against Reality
Peter Pomerantsev's parents arrived in London as political refugees from the Soviet Union and after being persecuted for their distribution of banned literature.
They devoted their life in the UK to radio broadcast, working at the BBC – an organisation that liberated them in its impartiality and commitment to the pursuit of objective truth. But today, Peter is seeing the very thing that liberated his parents – the freedom of information flow – destroy any notions that we had of objective truth.
Peter was a TV producer in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union, and it was here that he wrote his first book – Nothing Is True And Everything Is Possible – as he began to notice that post-Soviet Russia lacked any sense of a new identity and that cynical PR men and post-truth politicians were rushing in to fill that void.
After writing that book he returned to the UK in search of a rest-bite, only to find that the post-truth politics he left behind in Russia was taking hold here in the UK and across the world.
In his latest book – This Is Not Propaganda – Peter speaks to online, pro-democracy activists across the world who are on the front lines of the information war. In this new war of freedom vs tyranny, the strategy of oppression is not suppressing freedom of information flow, but to overload us with so much contradictory information that we don't know who or what to trust.
Peter talks to Stefan Rollnick about his family's story, whether the age of information has sent democracy into a death spiral, and we talk about what – if anything – can get us back out.
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