Empower democracy with cooperation: Comprehensive Strategy against Disinformation

A lecture with students at University of Prishtina

In an era marked by the rapid spread of misinformation, “The Balkan Forum” in
partnership with three significant organizations from Central Europe, has initiated
an impactful project titled “Countering False Information in Kosovo: Experience-
Sharing between V4 and Pristina.” This initiative brings together the “Association
For International Affairs – AMO” from the Czech Republic, “The Institute of
Central Europe” from Poland, and “The Balkan Views” from Slovakia and “The
Balkan Forum” from Kosovo. The aim is to forge a robust partnership that tackles
the challenges posed by disinformation, which is increasingly prevalent in digital
platforms.
Moreover, the presence of distinguished guests, such as Czech Ambassador
Bohumil Mazanek and Slovak Deputy Head of Mission Michal Plsko, and civil
society personas, NGOs, and successful journalists made the event even more
remarkable by accentuating the support and unity in responding to the global
challenge of misinformation. This way, the media interest in the project was great,
and the initiative was featured in some of Kosovo’s media such as TV Dukagjini
and RadioKosova, illustrating the importance and relevance of this initiative for
the community.

Launch Event: Where Minds and Ideas Intersect


From March 26 to 29, 2024, representatives from all sectors gathered in Prishtina
under the project’s headline: “Strengthening Democracy in the Western Balkans
through Vigilance Against Disinformation.” It gathered professionals, media,
NGOs, and academic students, including representatives from the area of
journalism and political science.
It started with discussion on the current state of disinformation in V4 countries and
Kosovo, with special attention paid to the critical role of various actors in the
diffusion and control of untruthful information. In a multi-perspective approach
involving keynote speeches, plenary, and interactive discussions of the participants,
the focus was on situational awareness and the role of non-state and state actors in these developments and effects, effective countermeasures, and regulatory
frameworks.

Civil Society and Education Efforts


One of the key recurrent themes throughout this conference is the role of civil
society in conjunction with governmental efforts to counter the scourge of
misinformation. Speaker after speaker has stressed strategies that run from
enhancing public education to the deployment of technology, like artificial
intelligence, in the better detection and response to fake news.
The discussion among experts, journalists, and students took on special
importance, since they raised the relevance of progressive educational initiatives in
schools and universities to act preventively against disinformation. Therefore, the
discussion rested on the incorporation of critical thinking and media literacy into
the curriculum from a very early age to prepare the next generation to detect and
fight against misinformation properly.

Making Young Minds Active


Then in April 2024, the activity followed with the targeted lecture at the University
of Prishtina, which was part of the series of deepening the understanding of tactics
of disinformation and countermeasures at the students. The event was attended by
many students, who were quite active during the lecture and displayed a great
interest in the fight against disinformation.
This comprised the technical details of how disinformation is being fought, the role
of regulations, tools, and modern technologies including artificial intelligence,
among others.
The project, serving as a demonstrator of such an approach with the support of the
International Visegrad Fund, addressed urgent education needs but was aimed at
building the solid basis for further cooperation within the complex of activities
aimed at increasing societal resilience.
This initiative is rooted in the belief that only by working with others at an
international level can the integrity of information and democratic processes truly
be assured in the digital era. As “The Balkan Forum” and partners build from this

basis, their work can bring about the development of additional strategies and
interventions that promise to protect societies from the negative impacts of
misinformation and secure an informed public able to protect democratic values.

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Strengthening Democracy in the Western Balkans through Vigilance Against Disinformation

Strengthening Democracy in the Western Balkans through Vigilance Against Disinformation

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