Is information a source of power?

Abstract

The information activity is currently undergoing deep changes and adjustments, notably because of the increase in security matters arising from the shift in political era after September 11th, 2001. Analyzing the contribution of information services to the policy of securing democracies proves that it can, with diplomacy and the use of armed forces, play the part of a « third way », precisely when it is often perceived as the « missing dimension » in international relations. Thus, the issue is to determine whether information services are a new factor of power or influence for States on the international stage. Three axes have been identified in order to analyze these stakes. Firstly, the very essence of information must be presented and understood through its characteristics, its relations with the State and its aims; thus, it can be noticed that it truly sets itself as a political object. Then, it is observed that the activity of information must sometimes reconcile contradictory logics: indeed, it must be subjected to the efficiency principle, while setting its means of action in a legitimate framework. Finally, the development of the international cooperation process concerning information services must be considered: the European case thus shows the difficulties as well as the assets brought by this shift to a supranational scale.

AFRI 2008 Summary