State President Raimonds Vējonis, in opening the debate, acknowledged that much work was needed to ensure that society and politicians remain robust against false news at a high level.
"False news is one of the strongest modern weapons which is constantly being deployed in the struggle for the hearts and minds of the people of Latvia," said the President, pointing out that it is necessary to cultivate a critical society and find a way to improve the quality of the information environment.
Special guest at the event was researcher at the Institute for International Relations in Prague, the coordinator of the European Security Center, Marc Galeotti, who told his audience many people consider themselves to be too smart to fall for fake news when in fact they are not - though whether any of the audience of politicians, journalists and officials would fall into that category is an interesting question.
One useful take-away from todays' great discussion hosted by @Rigas_pils on threat of #FakeNews - local assessments of threat posed by #Russia balanced and nuanced, devoid of hysteria we sometimes see in other quarters. V encouraginghttps://t.co/0gyDRaQ9vh— Mark Galeotti (@MarkGaleotti) December 6, 2017
Galeotti pointed out that splitting the public and demoralizing the population Russia is attempting to influence society in the West while emphasizing the need to educate the public to be able to exercise its critical faculties in a variety of different situations, not only overt disinformation campaigns.
Other speakers at the event included Director of NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence Jānis Sārts and the Center for European Policy Analysis' Latvia expert Martins Kaprāns.