The Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) "Viitorul" completed the training program on critical thinking, media literacy, analysis, resistance to disinformation, and unbiased coverage of public interest information. The 35 journalists, students, representatives of media organizations, teachers who teach media education in schools, and members of the Audiovisual Council, were handed certificates of participation in the program. The program, part of the project " Supporting Critical Thinking and Resistance to Disinformation in Moldova", included 20 sessions, which took place between May 3 and June 22, and aimed to increase the participants' capacities in terms of disinformation, but also for them to acquire new skills and knowledge.
Alina Radu, director of ZDG, and the trainer of the last two training sessions within the program spoke to the participants about the techniques and measures of journalists for the public's resilience in the face of misinformation. "We are the people who must check the information appearing in the public space and pass it on to society, correct and verified, from several sources in a newsroom, with a master. News without sources, newsrooms without reporters and masters are of no use to anyone, they do not produce anything good for society. Our resilience is to offer for consumption what we know is right. The news must come from a newsroom, and have an author. Recently, newsrooms with owners have started to go up, and those without - are going down. People are starting to understand that they have a problem and want information verified by real newsrooms. The work of reporters has been denigrated a lot lately, because of some unwanted incidents in some newsrooms, but that doesn't mean that all reporters are bad and we shouldn't generalize."
Carolina Ungureanu, deputy director of IDIS "Viitorul": "In the Republic of Moldova, the media are often used for propaganda and disinformation purposes. Information is often used to manipulate public opinion, weaken social cohesion, promote certain interests, and, in serious cases, may even affect state security. This situation is amplified by fragile institutions and administrative systems, the lack of regulation of the online space, as well as the lack of media education in society. Here, in this context, we believe that capacity building through the training program organized by IDIS "Viitorul" in the sphere of critical thinking, media literacy, analysis, resistance to disinformation, and reflecting public information impartially is welcome in the Republic of Moldova".
Irina Bejan, representative of the Cahul Regional Center for Community Development: "I participated in this training program because, in the southern region where I come from, the need to promote media literacy is also felt. I also recently won a grant in this regard. It is a passion of mine to have discussions with citizens, with friends, and with family members. It is a start on our way to promoting critical thinking. The war divided us into two camps: pro and con. You can't say yes to war. In order not to end up in situations where society is divided, many people must understand how important it is to know what media literacy is and to be informed from several sources".
Andrei Bargan, director of Media TV and Radio Media from Cimișlia: "I have been working in the media for many years, both radio and TV, and I think that it is very important for journalists to be able to distinguish the fake from the truth, not to disseminate the fakes, but to fight. Until recently, I believed that there is no fake news and no propaganda, but after several pieces of training like this I understood that up to 30% of everything we have today is disinformation, fake news, and propaganda. I understand that it is a worldwide problem. Practically all the countries of the world are concerned with combating fakes".
Olga Dragălin, media education teacher at "Matei Basarab" Theoretical High School in the city of Chisinau: "It was a very useful program and should be recommended to as many people as possible to train in such an exercise. It should reach as many schools as possible and be taught by trainers with the same level of training that we had during the pieces of training within this program, the information should be disseminated to as many people as possible, from as young an age as possible. small, so that we have more people with critical thinking".
Cătălin Murzac, ULIM student: "This training program exceeded my expectations. My knowledge of disinformation has deepened. I learned about new tools for detecting fake information, I formed critical thinking thanks to the trainers I had. I have discovered for myself a new dimension of PR which, I think, can help me detect false information".
Svetlana Secrieru, representative of the Audiovisual Council: "I was most interested in the aspects related to disinformation and manipulation. Recently, together with my colleagues, we participate in several seminars and trainings related to disinformation and manipulation because the election campaign is coming up. Regarding the training program, I appreciate the fact that I had experienced trainers who gave clear examples and I assimilated everything I need to be better prepared in the future”.
The subjects of the training program were: media education and the national experience regarding media education; what is behind disinformation trends and what are the myths behind disinformation campaigns. Techniques to combat disinformation were discussed; false information as a component of disinformation; about experience and good practices at the international level in combating disinformation. The participants were also trained in the fact-checking chapter; the peculiarities of disinformation in the online environment; the role of new technologies in disinformation campaigns; but also the role of journalists in combating disinformation, etc.
Participants in the training program will have the opportunity to apply the acquired knowledge in practice and develop evaluations/case studies/monitoring/analyses on topics related to disinformation, media literacy, and critical thinking. A cooperation platform will also be created, where evaluations will be presented and recommendations will be made. 12 infographics will also be developed based on the relevant information contained in the results and findings of the studies, analyses, case studies, etc. A red flag tool will be developed, in the form of a guide for journalists and media users, focusing on how to identify false information.
Within the project, till now, a mapping of media institutions and civil society organizations active in the media space has been carried out. Meetings were organized with CA members to outline the project's objectives and the contribution that civil society can have in this area. A study will be made on how the most influential Moldovan media institutions reflect the internal and external problems that affect society, from the perspective of disinformation, the presentation of fake news.
The project "Supporting Critical Thinking and Resistance to Disinformation in Moldova," implemented by the 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 risk.
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