Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, announcing the draft for a plan for combatting the disinformation and fake news, at press conference yesterday pointed out that misinformation and disinformation about North Macedonia, in addition to a part of the local media, is also spread by other countries.

“The Republic of North Macedonia in the past two years on a number of occasions has faced massive spread of disinformation, both in the social networks and in the traditional media. A portion of the disinformation was spread from the territories of other countries,“ Zaev said.

Thence, the Prime Minister announced active co-operation between the authorities and the fact-checking organizations (Fact checkers) “with timely and swift responses to their queries during their fact-checking work”

The plan, which has been published by the government, proposes a registry of the debunked disinformation and a list of media outlets, groups and individuals that are spreading misinformation and disinformation.

Also, a discussion with the media, which should result in a model for support for the production and distribution of media content on the topic of the fight with disinformation, was announced.

One of the proposed measures envisions creation of “National Strategy for Media Literacy”, which should encompass all the activities of the civil society, the media outlets and the state institutions in the field of media literacy. The government has announced support and partnership with the civil society sector for education of the employees in the state administration in media literacy.

Metamorphosis Foundation”, through its media outlets and project activities, has been actively involved in the fight against the disinformation and misinformation in the past 8 years.

Special attention in the near past was paid especially to the spreading of disinformation and misinformation in the wider region. “Truthmeter.mk, “Meta.mk” news agency and the Albanian language news site “Portalb.mk” work actively in debunking the misinformation and disinformation concerning North Macedonia which originate in other countries in the region.

Also, “Truthmeter.mk”, which since 2011 has been platform for increasing the transparency and the accountability of the institutions and the political parties, this year became the first licensed member from North Macedonia of the International Fact-Checking Network.

The Metamorphosis Foundation also now works on the “Critical Thinking for Mediawise Citizens – CriThink” Project, which with the support from the European Union is implemented in partnership with Eurothink. It combines all the accumulated experience from the promotion of the media literacy as the basis for the protection of the right of the citizens to have different views, through nurturing a culture of critical thinking, pluralism of opinion and democratic values.

According to a study by the Slovak Institute GLOBSEC titled “From Online Battlefield To Loss Of Trust?”, the media and the online community“, the media and the online communities are the only factors that play key role in the fight against the disinformation in Macedonia”.

The study points to the need for co-operation and co-ordination between the media, state institutions, civil society and other stakeholders.