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

I will use the phrase we coined as the project’s name that we implement: “Information against disinformation.” Daily, we offer articles that address European and global issues otherwise not treated with the necessary care. They are either too hermetic or too superficial. The resulting lack of knowledge and identification of the EU as a hermetic external being is our challenge. We offer in-depth expertise with accessible serving – full of quotes, examples, and storytelling. This is our primary way of fighting disinformation – providing knowledge and analysis that are interestingly written. In May, we added to that our original, novel format: “Fake of the day”/” Fake of the week,” in which we debunk untruths about Europe.

What are the main resources developed by your organization you’d be willing to share? (e.g. reports, analyses, scripts, educational materials, video clips, webinars… Please share the links.)

All our content is open and pay wall free. We are open to share all our texts if they are shared in keeping with our content sharing rules: proper affiliation and linking (https://www.euractiv.pl/wykorzystanie-tekstow-euractiv-pl/). As for the links, all our website is our tool of fighting disinformation, therefore we offer everyone to read and share articles you can find here: https://www.euractiv.pl

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

Lack of knowledge causes susceptibility to disinformation, citizens’ polarization and distrust, irresponsibility of politicians who – consciously – further propel this vicious circle.

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?

As above, our website as a whole is our major tool in fighting disinformation by

  • countering the loopholes in knowledge of our readers that include numerous politicians, experts, and multipliers,
  • by debunking fake news spread by politicians while offering the truth in exchange. We serve this knowledge via our website and social media accounts.

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

Presidential electoral campaign would definitely take the lead here, as it included influential top-down disinformation about what we focus on – Europe. Poland’s leaders were mentioning untruths like that the European Union haven’t given even a eurocent to Poland to fight the coronavirus pandemic, or a permanent ongoing untruth concerning the Brussels’ dictate that goes against Poland’s sovereignty. So, generally, politics is the permanent source and cause of disinformation. Second, it has been the coronavirus pandemic.

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

  • With regard to voting, Presidential Elections of both Poland and the US in 2020.
  • With regard to defence, the relocation of additional American troops to Poland and activation of American Ballistic Missile Defence base in Redzikowo, Poland.
  • With regard to historical diplomacy, the commemoration of the outbreak of World War II, as well as the outbreak of Warsaw Uprising.

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

Anti-German narratives, anti-EU narratives, anti-LGBT narratives, anti-vaccine narratives, plus politically-driven fights against political opponents. We don’t need them, since we rely on reaching information first-hand, at its source. Additionally, we implement cross-checking with other sources.

Would you like to highlight any of the disinformation cases you have witnessed/ discovered/ debunked?

I would of course point at the independent, apolitical  media, as we at EURACTIV Poland are. Here’s why:

  • We offert reliable information feeding citizens with knowledge that doesn’t leave the room for conspiracy theories or disinformation,
  • We offer impartial reporting which makes us a reliable and trusted source of information for all the people whatever their political adherence.

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?

So much as European Commission cares – and rightly so – for fighting disinformation, I would suggest a change in the strategy. As I mention, the major problem that makes disinformation thrive is lack of knowledge. Media are at the forefront of delivering this knowledge. Therefore, I would primarily support reliable, apolitical media outlets in just what they do than multiply special fake news-opposing projects. The truth is that no one else is a better media literacy tool than independent media.

KAROLINA ZBYTNIEWSKA
Editor-in-Chief and Managing Director at EURACTIV Poland
Reliable, knowledgeable, engaged

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