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

My organization is the Investigative Journalism Center, an NGO which deals with investigative reporting – from teaching students of journalism and young journalists about the basics of investigative reporting to research, analyzing, and working on investigative stories/projects in different roles: reporting, editing, as well as mentoring. Media literacy/critical thinking/countering disinformation is, in a way, a crucial part of our core business.

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.)

Our website is under reconstruction these days. That’s the reason we can’t provide useful links, but we have several stories to share and all sorts of educational materials. It is possible to find a part of it at the investigative reporting section of the Mediacentar Sarajevo website (www.media.ba) because we were partners in a regional project – the investigative reporting training center.

 

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

  • A widespread media literacy knowledge even worsens by the unprofessional behavior of a part of media outlets.

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?

  • Using fact-checking tools straightforwardly to the general public: working on stories that explain – based on real-life situations – how much damage has been done because of disinformation. Helping the so-called ordinary citizens (who are not professional journalists) to implement critical thinking skills as a part of their everyday behavior.

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

  • The previous experience with disinformation activities I have witnessed this year in my home country Croatia is connected with the parliamentary elections campaign and Covid-19. These are the two most popular subjects. All others are minor and not comparable to it. Pretty much the same goes for the worldwide situation – election campaigns and Covid-19.

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

  • Election campaigns and everything related to Covid-19 is likely to bring about disinformation activities in the second half of this year and 2021 to a much bigger extent than any other subject.

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

All sorts of narratives spread fear, especially when it comes to health and similar life threats.

 

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

I regularly do read some fact-checking articles. In Croatia, we have a high-quality fact-checking website: Faktograf (https://faktograf.hr/).

 

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

Many cases of politicians, even in the government, who were saying lies about themselves and/or about their work being finally disclosed.

 

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?

In Croatia, along with the already mentioned fact-checking website Faktograf, we have some NGOs engaged in a media literacy field, such as GONG (https://www.gong.hr/en/). There is also a media literacy project run by the Agency for Electronic Media.

 

SASA LEKOVIC
President of Investigative Journalism Center
Hardworking, innovative, keen to learn

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