Where old-school authoritarians relied on traditional forms of censorship and ideologically-oriented propaganda to maintain control over their populations, modern authoritarians are adopting increasingly sophisticated methods to influence public opinion and shape political narratives. By restricting space for independent media outlets, policing the Internet, sponsoring fake think tanks, and relying on state-owned or state-friendly media assets, autocrats keep dissenting views out of the news and manipulate political discourse.
These efforts do not stop at their own borders. Authoritarian regimes invest extensive time, resources, and manpower in state-owned international media efforts to head off external criticism of their activities, distort public discourse, and promote their own counternarratives.
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