How would you describe the mission and expertise of your organization in the field of media literacy/ critical thinking/ fact checking/ countering disinformation?

New Eastern Europe is a bimonthly covering issues related to Central and Eastern Europe. We aim to be a platform for the exchange of ideas and information on the region so as to help a wider audience understand how this part of the world fits into the global context. As a media organization (NGO, not-for-profit) we strive to tell the story of our region and aim to be the voice of the region. This means engaging the reader with truthful (fact-checked) information, and also fighting against stereotypes and disinformation/misinformation about the region.

Which are, in your opinion, the three biggest current challenges related to countering disinformation in your country?

  • Active campaigns by malign forces aimed at propagating disinformation about our region.
  • Lack of understanding of this region among the wider (non-specialist) audience.
  • Social polarization and/or lack of willingness to listen to others’ opinions.

Could you name three solutions that you implemented or else want to recommend as an advice how to counter disinformation, strengthen societies’ critical thinking skills and build civil resilience to disinformation?

We sometimes find that story-telling is a good way to engage the audience, and to break down pre-conceived notions (possibly also being a result of disinformation). We believe that a pro-active approach (beyond reacting or debunking already published disinformation ) might help get ahead of some disinformation activities. Providing two voices on very emotional issues (like wars or conflicts) helps the readers understand that these are very complex issues, and that capturing the bigger picture is essential.

What are the top three events or dates you have witnessed this year that have caused an intensification of disinformation activities?

  • Coronavirus
  • Nagorno-Karabkh War
  • Belarus crisis

In your opinion, which future three dates/events are likely to bring about the intensification of disinformation activities in 2020-2021?

  • US elections (and aftermath)
  • Belarus crisis (continuing)
  • Elections in Georgia

What are the prevailing disinformation narratives you have observed in the media space this year.

Obviously, the narrative that coronavirus is fake, made up and is meant to control us is beyond doubt the largest disinformation narrative we have seen.

Have you been relying on any fact-checking tools? If yes, please describe them or share the links.

We have no specific tools beyond our own research.

In your opinion, who are the best performing actors – in your country, as well as in the EU – playing crucial roles in the field of media literacy today and why?

Not very many. Digital Forensics Research Lab is probably the best actor for international/regional debunking. The EU European External Action Service is OK, but its potential is unexploited.

Editor-in-Chief of New Eastern Europe
Collaborative, principled, mission-driven