Max Volz

Event Reports

The Role of (social) Media in Modern Warfare

Side Event of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung at the Munich Security Conference

As part of the Munich Security Conference, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the alumni organisation ASeV | Altstipendiaten der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e. V. organised an official side event on the role of (social) media in modern warfare at the Amerikahaus.

Member of the German Bundestag Roderich Kiesewetter, Colonel Dr. Ferdi Akaltin, Commander of the Centre for Operational Communication of the Bundeswehr and Prof. Dr. Natascha Zowislo-Grünewald from the University of the Bundeswehr in Munich discussed the influence of social media on modern warfare in the context of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Polina Kulish, Research Fellow from Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, moderated the panel. The initiators of the event were a young team of former KAS scholarship holders in cooperation with the Department International Politics and Security of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. The project was initiated by young former scholarship holders from the Munich regional group and from the ASeV's Security Policy Network in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation's International Politics and Security Department.

"Wars have always been accompanied by the media, but the real-time functioning of social media represents a caesura," pointed out Roderich Kiesewetter in his opening statement. It is crucial to understand that communication spaces in social media have different dimensions: the psychological, the military and last but not least the political dimension, which Kiesewetter called the "War of Truth". To the predominantly young audience, the experts on the panel emphasized the importance of a clear communicative framework and used the example of the war of aggression against Ukraine to illustrate the relevance of unambiguous narratives.

Prof. Natascha Zowislo-Grünewald outlined the success factors of TikTok. User-generated content in particular leads to users becoming emotionally involved on social media and thus being able to follow the events of the war live. The targeted use of TikTok and the clearly recognizable narrative of Ukraine speak for an elaborate media strategy by Kyiv. The extent to which a catchy narrative must be accompanied by a culture of error and a willingness to make corrections was the subject of controversial statements.

However, an educated, resilient society is needed to distinguish truth from fake news. Bundeswehr Commander Colonel Dr. Ferdi Akaltin argued that media literacy is now just as important as the ability to read or write.

The many questions and the lively discussions after the event show: the need for discussion on the topic is persistently high. To thank the panellists, the organising team handed out hand-labelled gingerbread hearts, because everyone agreed: security policy is their matter of the heart.


The side event was financially supported by the KAS and the ASeV | Altstipendiaten der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e. V..

Event Reports
MSC/Jens Hartmann
February 21, 2023

About this series

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, its educational institutions, centres and foreign offices, offer several thousand events on various subjects each year. We provide up to date and exclusive reports on selected conferences, events and symposia at In addition to a summary of the contents, you can also find additional material such as pictures, speeches, videos or audio clips.