October 25, 2021

CSOs role in tackling disinformation in the Black Sea Region - Articles Series

Old, new, and frozen conflicts are highly concentrated in the extended Black Sea Region. These can disrupt the mobility of the people, their access to resources, business opportunities, and the possibility of intervention for civil society organizations. In this context, media institutions play a key role in informing people and consolidating public opinion on relevant topics, thus creating fertile soil for advanced disinformation mechanisms in the case of the controlled media holdings (Murusidze, Chankvetadze, “Protracted conflicts and security challenges in the Black Sea”, MEI, 2020).

This article looks at identifying the main tactics of disinformation in the Black Sea region, their impact, and the response given in each of the affected regions. Based on this, we aim at formulating policy recommendations targeted at civil society organizations in regards to possible interventions tackling disinformation.

Despite the legislation that allows citizens democratic participation, most of the countries in the Black Sea region do not currently have free media, as shown by the 2020 World Press Freedom Index: Romania ranks 48, Georgia 60, Armenia 61, Moldova 91, Ukraine 96, Bulgaria 111, Russia 149, Turkey 154 and Azerbaijan 168 out of 180 countries. Moreover, half of EU citizens aged 15-30 say they need critical thinking and information skills to help them combat fake news and extremism in society, according to the Flash Eurobarometer 2018. This article focuses especially on possible solutions through which CSOs can support young people in identifying, combating, and preventing disinformation in their communities.

Authors: Gabriel Brezoiu, President, PRISMA European Network

Diana Ionita, Head of Digital, GEYC

This article is part of the Call for Articles Series “Building Knowledge for CSO Cooperation in the Black Sea Region”, in the context of the project “Building CSO Capacity for Regional Cooperation within the Black Sea Region”, implemented by FOND, and funded by the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation (BST), a project of the German Marshall Fund. The opinions expressed in this publication are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views those of the Black Sea Trust or its partners.

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