In our glossary, we explain specific terms concerning psychological defence in alphabetical order. You are welcome to contact us if you consider that a relevant term is missing from the glossary.

Democracy comes from Greek and more or less means ‘rule by the people’ or ‘power of the people’. A fundamental idea of democracy is that anyone who is a citizen or who lives in a country shall be able to participate and express their view on how the country should be governed, for example through regular elections.

Another fundamental idea of democracy is that all people have equal worth and shall have the same rights. In a democracy people shall be able to think what they want and have the opportunity to openly express their opinions verbally or in writing.

False information that is spread deliberately to harm an individual, organisation, or country, for example by creating and sharing made-up news stories.

Civil defence concerns the resilience of society as a whole in the event of threat of war, and war. Civil defence is the work conducted by agencies, municipalities and regions, companies and associations aimed at protecting and defending society in the event of war or threat of war. This can concern transport, protecting people or ensuring that health and social care function properly.

Civil defence objectives on the Government’s website External link.

Other countries, or groups in other countries (often referred to as external threat actors) that may be intent on harming Sweden and Swedish interests.

Media and information literacy (MIL) includes knowledge, capabilities and attitudes necessary to enable assimilating reliable information, forming opinions and making one’s voice heard. MIL is about understanding the role of the media in society, the ability to find, analyse and critically evaluate information and the ability to express oneself and create content in different media and contexts.

The term has often come to be equated with source criticism and source reliability, but is much broader than that. It is an area under development, as technology and media usage are constantly evolving.

Improve your media and information literacy

MIL Sweden’s knowledge bank Link to another website External link. has something for everyone wishing to improve their media and information literacy. Here, you will find everything from research reports to complete packages of lessons with teachers’ guides – open and available for everyone to access.

False information that was not necessarily created to cause harm. It may be a case of a misunderstanding, or someone reading an article online, taking it as facts and sharing it to inform their friends, without knowing that what they are sharing is actually false.

There are numerous different methods that can be used to create and disseminate disinformation, misleading information and propaganda to influence people. Multiple methods are often used simultaneously to achieve greater impact. One common method involves creating stories, or narratives, which can be completely false or only partly true, but which are skewed and taken out of context in order to mislead, polarise and divide. The narrative is designed to influence our perceptions of the world we live in and how we choose to act in different situations.

Malign information influence is when antagonistic foreign powers or other external threat actors attempt to harmfully influence, disrupt or steer public discourse in Sweden. Some of the means of information influence are disinformation, misleading information and propaganda.

For something to be identified as malign information influence, the information has to be misleading, intentional and disruptive.

Polarisation combines different influence techniques to amplify extreme positions on the same issue. Trolls and bots are often used to add fuel to extreme views. That way, antagonistic foreign powers pit groups against each other. By dividing society, they can then reap benefits.

Messages disseminated in order to influence the attitudes and actions of individuals or organisations in favour of the originator. Propaganda can be weaponised and is often based on disinformation and misleading information when used in psychological warfare.

Within information influence, a number of different techniques are used to influence people’s decisions. The techniques can be divided into six groups:

  • Social and cognitive hacking (hidden advertising)
  • Misleading and deceptive identities
  • Technical manipulation
  • Disinformation.
  • Malevolent rhetoric
  • Symbolic acts

Staff secondment by the Psychological Defence Agency to another country means that we have employees or representatives who are temporarily posted there. These individuals act as an extension of the organisation and provide local knowledge, translation, cultural understanding and practical support. They can be responsible for coordinating projects, managing logistics or serving as contacts between different parties. Seconded staff are valuable in facilitating international collaboration.

Total defence is the activity needed to prepare Sweden for war and consists of military and civil defence. Sweden’s defence is a matter for the whole of society. Sweden’s total defence shall protect and defend the country, human life and health, society’s functions, democracy and human rights. If total defence works well and if the outside world knows that this is the case, the inclination of others to attack or exert pressure on Sweden will diminish.

Freedom of expression means that all inhabitants, regardless of their age, have the right to express themselves, access and disseminate information and opinions. You shall not be punished for your political statements. In Sweden, freedom of expression is protected by the Constitution, as it is in most other countries. This means that the law is more difficult for politicians to change than other laws.