How would you describe the mission and expertise of your organisation in the field of media literacy/ critical thinking/ fact checking/ countering disinformation?
Our organisation focuses on political watchdogging, fact-checking of politicians, tracking the implementation of their promises, educational activities, seminars and trainings for youth and teachers.
What are the main resources developed by your organisation you’d be willing to share?
Methodology for watchdogging of politicians’ promises, educational materials (interactive methods for youth created by youth themselves), educational platform for critical thinking, media literacy and watchdogging (to be created in 2021, in LT, LV, EE, RU and English).
Which are, in your opinion, the three biggest current challenges related to countering disinformation in your country?
Tools and resources for civil society to build their resilience and effectively communicate their narratives, echo chambers dissociating more vulnerable groups, prevailing influential opinion makers – politicians and media – who disseminate disinformation narratives.
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?
- Trainings for leaders of local communities acting as multipliers, to improve their spotting of disinformation narratives and communicating their own positive narratives,
- community building of various actors (local leaders, journalists, experts, policy makers) to cooperate in countering disinformation,
- awareness of teachers (engaged both in formal and informal education) and tools to build the resilience of young people.
What are the top three events or dates you have witnessed this year that have caused an intensification of disinformation activities?
- Introduction of quarantine due to COVID-19 in Lithuania,
- Belarus elections and mass protests,
- EU summits to negotiate the Multiannual Financial Framework (July and December EUCOs).
In your opinion, which future three dates/events are likely to bring about the intensification of disinformation activities in 2020-2021?
- Start of mass vaccination,
- voting on the same-sex partnership in Lithuanian parliament (cleavage in the country),
- any other new health/climate crisis.
What are the prevailing disinformation narratives you have observed in the media space this year.
- The COVID-19 is a fake introduced to control people by the elites/there are natural cures so no need for vaccination/COVID-19 statistics are fake.
- The EU is failing to manage the crisis, there are major differences between countries, lack of democracy – the dictatorship of Brussels.
Have you been relying on any fact-checking tools? If yes, please describe them or share the links.
Debunk.eu, EUvsdisinfo (East StratCom), patikrinta 15min (https://www.15min.lt/patikrinta-15min).
Would you like to highlight any of the disinformation cases you have witnessed/ discovered/ debunked?
I personally reached out to people in my community who question the existence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussions with them demonstrated the prevailing thinking pattern – everything that mass media say is a lie benefiting the elites. Hence, I asked them for explanation how they evaluate sources of information, and on what basis they believe that their alternative sources are credible. This resulted in some hope, however showcased the harm of echo chambers and the alienation of our communities. I think that engagement and refraining from stigmatisation is the key here.
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?
I am participating in a TechSoup Europe project Media Literacy Accelerator, which I think can prove helpful to local communities. DebunkEU, led by LT team, pioneer in fact checking and produce deep and comprehensive analyses on local disinformation narratives and their spread.