“How can we protect ourselves from this hybrid weapon? By increasing people’s awareness and resilience, by constantly explaining what is real and what is not,” Karis said.
“Authoritarian regimes use words as weapons. They turn them against democracies and continue to fire at us with powerful disinformation campaigns. Their goal is to increase societal division, confrontation and instill fear,” said the Estonian president.
He noted that Estonia has set a goal to preserve and support free media by co-leading the Media Freedom Coalition and will continue to work to achieve this when it takes over the presidency of the Internet Freedom Coalition.
“And I promise that we will continue to be a thorn in the side of those who seek to stifle open debate about the need to respect human rights,” Karis said.
The President said that Estonia is ready to take on even greater responsibility, which is why the country has also applied for membership in the UN Human Rights Council.
“Standing against impunity requires our inner sense of justice, the lesson of history, the suffering inflicted on our parents and grandparents. It is a sad experience, the terrible repetition of which we are experiencing today in Ukraine also because similar crimes in the past have gone unpunished.
“Serial killers will continue to act until they are punished,” the Estonian president warned.
Karis said that democracy is under threat all over the world. The question is whether freedom and human rights will prevail, or whether more people will be subjected to oppression and restrictions on freedoms.
According to the president, our task is to prove that the desire for democracy and freedom is always stronger and able to survive even in the most difficult conditions.
The world has become much more black and white and we have to choose a side. And it is clear that Estonia chooses the side of defenders of human rights and freedom, said Karis.