Disinformation Is Not a Problem Only for the Media; It Is Also a Security Problem

The work of professional media is to verify the facts and information it reports. We are witnessing photographs and news shared only to incite conflict between countries and violence, says Klodiana Kapo from Factoje, Albania


Apart from internal, the Balkan region is exposed to external influences where disinformation is concerned but denying that disinformation is key for the protection of democracy. This was the conclusion of the first session of today’s conference “Defending Democracy in the Balkans: Safeguarding Information Integrity in a Digital Era”, on the occasion of marking International Fact-Checking Day.

Filip Stojanovski from Metamorphosis Foundation stressed that disinformation was a problem that penetrated and disturbed all sectors of society while undermining national values.

He alerted that in North Macedonia efforts to prevent the country’s accession to the European Union could be noted and that to the long-term influence of external disinformation from various external malign sources, the Anti-Disinformation Network was particularly important and should continue to grow.

“Although fact-checking is key, it is not enough and everyone needs to play their role”, said Stojanovski, adding that disinformation is not just a problem for the journalists and media, but also a security problem.

Klodiana Kapo, from Factoje Albania, said that one can note an enormous number of “bombastic” or exaggerated headlines and articles copied one from each other.

Kapo added that disinformation was spreading in Albania about a hypothetical war on the Balkans, pro-Russian policies and photographs that encourage conflicts in the countries.

Although disinformation originates within the country, she also added that a large number of disinformation comes from abroad and from Serbia. On top of that, due to the fact that reporters are not prepared to deal with disinformation, news was disseminated. In some cases, politicians were doing the same.

“The job of professional media is to verify the facts and information they are writing about. We are witnesses to photographs and news shared only for the purpose of inciting conflicts between countries and violence. For example, due to the fact that Albanians are interested in the situation between Kosovo and Serbia, they constantly find bombastic fake news about possible wars between the two countries”, said Kapo.

In his address, Denis Dzidic from BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina, explained that the disinformation trends in Bosnia and Herzegovina came from three directions.

As he put it, the first one was related to the war-inheritance and was the most frequent disinformation narrative. The second trend was political, using disinformation related to the war in Ukraine and to political issues claiming that the path towards the EU is something imposed by the EU itself. The discussions against ethnic groups are also loaded with this narrative, while the third direction is denying the crimes against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“The goal of disinformation is to create strong European skepticism, and Russia is not the only to blame for that”, he said and added that due to the large number of sources in the world, this would be an interesting year.

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