How would you describe the mission and expertise of your organisation in the field of media literacy/ critical thinking/ fact checking/ countering disinformation?
The Eastern Europe Studies Centre (EESC) is an independent think-tank that has been operating since 2006. It focuses on analysing international policy processes and Lithuania’s role in them. The EESC implements large-scale national and international projects, strengthening the tradition of analytical centres in the region. Since its establishment, the EESC has been focused on countering disinformation threats in the Baltic States and Eastern Partnership countries. Alongside partners such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the European Commission, Globsec, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and others, we have implemented more than a dozen international projects related to informational threats.
The EESC has published numerous publications that decipher the basic methods and principles of spreading propaganda and disinformation. Furthermore, in order to identify the most sensitive and vulnerable areas of society, the EESC has repeatedly conducted quantitative analyses of the Lithuanian population. The EESC’a analytical studies constantly discuss the issue of resilience of the Lithuanian society and how certain demographic groups, especially the Russian-speaking minority, are affected by the Russian media sources. The EESC is also working directly with the vulnerable parts of society and implements international projects that aim to strengthen independent media in the Eastern Partnership countries, as well as to counter disinformation and to support fact-checking and critical thinking in Lithuania.
What are the main resources developed by your organisation you’d be willing to share?
We have longstanding experience in analysing and countering disinformation and propaganda. We have implemented more than a dozen international projects related to informational threats. Here you can find our newest research and policy papers regarding this topic:
- Linas Kojala, et. al. “Research on the assessment of the geopolitical situation and perception of threats”, 2020. https://www.eesc.lt/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/v02-web_Research-of-Perception-of-Threats_paper_A4.pdf
- Research on the Assessment of the Geopolitical Situation and Perception of Threats, 2020. https://www.eesc.lt/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/v02-web_Research-of-Perception-of-Threats_paper_A4.pdf
- Konstantinas Andrijauskas, Sino-Lithuanian Relations in 2020: Shedding the Masks?, 2020. https://www.eesc.lt/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/SINO-LITHUANIAN-RELATIONS.pdf
- Konstantinas Andrijauskas, The Dragon and the Knight: China’s Growing Presence In Lithuania, 2020
- Policy paper “The struggle for the COVID-19 narratives – implications for the European security”, 2020. https://www.eesc.lt/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/The-Struggle-for-Narratives-Summary.pdf
- Research made in cooperation with the Slovakia-based think-tank Globsec “Voices of Central and Eastern Europe”, 2020 https://www.eesc.lt/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Voices-of-Central-and-Eastern-Europe_read-version.pdf and “Lithuanian Parliamentary Elections 2020: Notable Narratives”, 2020 https://www.eesc.lt/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/v04_Election-monitoring-tekstas_be-virs_A4.pdf
- Makarevičiūtė and A. Roževič „Resilient Media: Challenges and Opportunities in the democratization process”, 2020. https://www.eesc.lt/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/v01_Resilient-Media_leidinys_A4.pdf
- The Protests in Belarus: Insights From Minsk and The Western View, 2020. https://www.eesc.lt/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/v02_The-protests-in-Belarus_A4-paper-online.pdf
- Non-Traditional Threats and NATO, 2020. https://www.eesc.lt/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Non-Traditional-Threats-and-NATO.pdf
Which are, in your opinion, the three biggest current challenges related to countering disinformation in your country?
Lithuania is facing a large flow of disinformation and aggressive propaganda from sources related to foreign countries. By spreading disinformation, attackers try to undermine Lithuania’s public’s trust in democracy and state institutions, constantly questioning Lithuania’s independence, and it’s right to exist. This disinformation is constantly evolving, carried out in different languages, targetting the groups in society most vulnerable to fake news.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen that disinformation is very effective on the internet. We witnessed that it even might become destructive by gathering people who are determined to sneak into hospitals that treat COVID-19 patients. About 1/5 of Lithuanian society is saying that they are not going to get a COVID-19 vaccine. They are very visible on social media, actively spreading sensationalist fake news and conspiracy theories. Soviet nostalgia is the result of fifty years spent under Soviet rule. It created a feeling of belonging to a certain, if artificially created, group.
Interview from February, 2021.