The illiberalism of fear as a disinformation strategy – A study of the construction of the refugee as an internal enemy in the post-truth framework

Research Paper by Jediael A. de Dompablo



The disinformation strategy has become a danger to the EU. It is not something neutral; it has a political purpose. The construction of the refugee as a scapegoat is crucial for the illiberal movement. However, disputing the concept is key to reinforcing democracy.

The current communicative framework has favored the emergence of the phenomenon of post-truth linked to the crisis of liberal democracy, which has become a challenge for the European Union. Thus, conceived to address all the issues connected to this situation, the European Democracy Action Plan sets a course of action.

In this context, disinformation has become a strategy employed by far-right radical populist parties to create a favorable public opinion environment for their interests. To achieve this, the far right uses the construction of scapegoats, such as the figure of the refugee, to build Otherness, which is key to understanding the illiberal project since the need to create an internal enemy aligns with the ideological foundations of this movement.

In this research, we study the new communicative framework of the post-truth era and analyze the construction of populist discourse through the figure of the refugee and how it has affected public opinion, assuming certain ideological presuppositions of liberal political aspirations.

However, the debate over the concept of refugee could be a window of opportunity after the current Ukraine refugee crisis to change the stigma and improve the lives of people suffering from political persecution while simultaneously reinforcing European democracy and liberal institutions.


About the author

Jediael A. de Dompablo is an associate Professor at Carlos III University of Madrid, holds a PhD in Political Science from Automous University of Madrid and is a visiting researcher at Science Po-Paris.


#Illiberalism #refugee #far-right #disinformation #post-truth #populism