When Peter Oborne wrote The Rise of Political Lying, looking at the growth of political falsehood during the governments of John Major and Tony Blair, he believed things had got as bad as they could be. 

On 23 July 2019, however, the arrival of Boris Johnson at No.10 and the boom of internet propaganda ushered in a new and unprecedented epidemic of deceit. His more recent book, The Assault on Truth, argues that the ruthless use of political deceit under the Johnson government is part of a wider attack on civilised values across the Western world.

The former Daily Telegraph political commentator joins Zahed Amanullah from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue to discuss the growing power of government propaganda on the web and how it is being used as a form of cyberwarfare, as well as a soft power influencer. 

About The Academic

Zahed Amanullah

Zahed Amanullah is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and leads on ISD’s civil society engagement, communications, and partnerships, coordinating the public and private sectors with activists, frontline workers, and relevant civil society networks to counter disinformation, hate speech, extremist propaganda and recruitment. Alongside his work at ISD, he is also Director of the Concordia Forum, a global network of leaders from Muslim backgrounds that has convened annually in exclusive retreats alternately in Europe and North America since 2009.

At ISD, Zahed has worked on research and capacity building for NGOs in Kenya, Europe, and the Middle East. He has co-authored The Impact of Counternarratives, a cross-platform study on counternarrative messaging impact, Between Two Extremes, a study of extremist messaging during the 2017 Kenya elections, and The Innovation Fund to Counter Hate and Extremism in the UK, a report on a £1m fund for UK civil society organisations supported by Google.org that he helped oversee alongside a similar €10m fund for European CSOs in 2019. He has given testimony to the UK and European parliaments and has been featured at the BBC, NPR, Channel 4, Sky News, the Guardian, CNN International, Bloomberg, Le Monde Diplomatique, and Newsweek among others.

The 2,000-strong Concordia Forum network has received commendations from Hillary Clinton, Theresa May and attendance in person by representatives and parliamentarians from Canada, the UK, and other European countries including Farah Pandith, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, MN Attorney General Keith Ellison, Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Andre Carson, and Rashida Tlaib.

About The Author

Peter Oborne

Peter Oborne is an award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster who has worked for various newspapers, including the Spectator, the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph, where he was the chief political commentator until his resignation from the paper in 2015. He now writes for Middle East Eye. He is the author of numerous books, including The Rise of Political Lying (2005), Wounded Tiger (2014) and the Sunday Times bestseller The Assault on Truth (2021). He lives in Wiltshire.