Starting yesterday, until Friday, the Foundation for Society and the Internet “Metamorphosis” will be part of the international conference on the verification of facts and the fight against misinformation – disinformation, “Facing the facts in the Balkans and beyond”, writes “Portabl.mk”.

In the first panel discussion yesterday, attended by leading media outlets whose work is mainly based on professional reporting and the fight against misinformation – disinformation, the coordinator of the project, implemented by Metamorphosis and Eurothink, “Critical Thinking for Mediawise Citizens – CriThink”, Filip Stojanovski took part in discussions. He talked about the way the project works, and pointed out how problematic the spread of fake news is outside the borders of North Macedonia. He used the example of ex-Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s escape, as he noted, the facts are yet to be  confirmed, although the media reported a variety of information.

“For years we have been consumed with critical thinking, which is very important for the media. The information we publish is not limited to the domestic media, but also beyond the borders and sometimes can be misused for political interests and may return to the countries of origin in a new format and transformed by the media and politicians. An interesting example for me is how we can check the facts in a situation where we do not even know what the facts are exactly. Our approach is that sometimes we cannot ghather all the facts, but we can recognize misinformation if sources respect the principles of journalism. That’s what we do, we give examples to the public and show them what news should look like and what it should not look like”, Stojanovski said.

For Faik Spahiu, editor-in-chief of “Kallxo.mk” (“Kazhi.mk”), the verification of facts remains problematic. According to him, other problematic issues include “thieves” of their work and those who refuse to give information on them – for example, the President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, who has court proceedings against him.

“We need more time to verify the news and gather facts. Therefore, we are not fast, and we are not the first. When we report, firstly wet want to see what the truth is. We have already started various proceedings and filed lawsuits against those who have stolen our news. We started to check other media outlets, in a very professional manner, according to the highest possible standards, and we told the public that”, Spahiu said.

According to the founder of “Polygraph.info”, Fatima Tlis, the biggest misinformation is achieved though bad translation.

“Fake news or disinformation has undermined the integrity of information, knowledge and sound logic. This has opened the way for wrong information or propaganda to influence the public’s daily lives”, said Tlis.

According to the acting Ambassador of the United States to Albania, Leyla Moses-Ones, the conference will create opportunities to create practice for the exchange of ideas and improve the quality of journalism in the region.

“This is a good practice for exchanging ideas and improving the quality of journalism in general. In general, professional and investigative journalism provide better experiences, watching what is being reported, investigating facts, and basing everything on facts”, said Moses-Ones.

The conference is being held in Tirana, Albania, and organized by Faktoje.al, supported by USAID and the British Embassy.