Information disorder is based on three elements: misinformation; strategic desinformation; and malicious information. Misinformation is about information that is false, but the person spreading it thinks it is true. Strategic desinformation is also about passing on false information, but the person spreading it knows it is false. Malicious is information is about information based on true facts with the aim of causing harm to a person.
False information as part of disinformation was the theme of sessions V and VI of the training programme on critical thinking, media literacy, analysis, resisting disinformation and reflecting public interest information in an unbiased way, held on Wednesday 10 May. The trainer of the sessions was Aurelia Peru, PhD in political science, coordinating research scientist. According to Aurelia Peru, propaganda is not synonymous with strategic disinformation, although the latter can serve the interests of propaganda. Propaganda is more manipulative than disinformation because it uses emotional rather than informational messages.
There are seven categories of information disorder, says Aurelia Peru. These are: the inclusion of satire, parody; headlines, subheads, captions and other visual elements that do not reflect the content; misleading use of information to falsely portray an issue or person; authentic content that is redistributed outside its original context; imitation of authentic sources; authentic content that is used to mislead; and fabricated content.
"False information and misinformation I think are very important issues for every active citizen, especially if they hold office, and are followed by other citizens, representing a voice in the community. Such trainings would be beneficial for everyone once you are part of a society. In order to build a society of integrity, we need people to analyse, to think, to question everything they read, listen to or watch", believes Tatiana Ismailov, a participant of the programme.
"Fake news is a more or less well-known phenomenon, but it has been used for a very long time. This phenomenon has been amplified by the advent of the internet and social media. We probably cannot imagine life without modern technology today, but we need to be aware of the dangers and know how to detect fake news, which leads to massive misinformation and manipulation among citizens. This is what we learned at the session and we need to pass on this knowledge to those around us", says Olga Dragălin, another participant of the training programme.
"The technology of information fabrication on demand is today becoming more and more accessible to the public and as a definition the objective of distinguishing truth from falsehood is increasingly difficult to achieve. None of us is immune from this phenomenon, which can have a powerful impact on society and influence public opinion and can be used for revenge or defamation. This is why we are learning how to defend ourselves", says Gabriela Garaba, a participant in the programme.
The following sessions will discuss techniques to combat disinformation; false information as part of disinformation; international experience and best practices in combating disinformation. Participants will also be trained on fact-checking; the specifics of online disinformation; the role of new technologies in disinformation campaigns; and the role of journalists in combating disinformation, etc.
The project "Supporting Critical Thinking and Resisting Disinformation in the Republic of Moldova", implemented by IDIS "Viitorul" from January 2023 to October 2024, is financially supported by the Embassy of Finland in Bucharest.
IDIS "Viitorul" is an independent think tank established in 1993 that combines social, political and economic research with strong advocacy components. The institution conducts applied monitoring research on several areas: economics, social policy, EU policies, regional development, but also security and foreign policy risks.
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