Antidotes against fake news: education and quality journalism

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Experts from South East Europe, Germany, Russia and Ukraine discuss fake news, disinformation and security in Sofia

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Christian Spahr, Head of the KAS Media Program South East Europe, emphasised that fake news damage the trust of people in our political model and in democracy.

Christian Spahr, Head of the KAS Media Program South East Europe, emphasised that fake news damage the trust of people in our political model and in democracy.

Upon the invitation of the KAS Media Program South East Europe journalists, diplomats, political advisers, scientists and media experts gathered to discuss fake news in the media as well as security issues. The event took place on 27th June 2017 in Sofia and was organised in cooperation with Sofia Security Forum and Foundation Media Democracy (FMD).

The conference was opened by Christian Spahr, Head of the KAS Media Program South East Europe. In his speech he emphasised that fake news damage the trust of people in our political model and in democracy. "Fake news can be an integral part of a wider propaganda strategy, uniting narratives of political institutions, controlled mainstream media, civil society organisations, domestic and foreign audiences," commented Spahr. The President of the Sofia Security Forum, Yordan Bozhilov, asked for a broader public discussion about the risks of fake news towards national security. FMD Executive Director Orlin Spassov added that falsified news is an inherent part of the Bulgarian media landscape.

Fake news – a well-known phenomenon in Bulgaria

Boriana Dimitrova, Managing Partner of the Bulgarian research institute "Alpha Research", introduced the results of a representative survey on fake news and national security in Bulgaria. The opinion poll was commissioned by the Media Program South East Europe of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS). Dimitrova noted that younger people and those with lower education are particularly vulnerable to fake news. All results are available on the homepage of the KAS Media Program South East Europe.

Fact-checking and self-regulation as measures against fake news

The survey was the starting point for the following public panel discussions. A first panel focused on the influence of fake news on the media landscape. The debate was led by Kristina Baxanova, news anchor at the Bulgarian TV channel bTV. Speakers were David Crawford, journalist at the German investigative newsroom Correctiv, Daniel Mossbrucker, expert from the NGO "Reporters without Borders", and Galyna Schimansky-Geier, editor at StopFake.org in Kiev. FMD Executive Director Orlin Spassov and Dimitar Vatsov, President of the Human and Social Studies Foundation (Sofia), were also part of the discussion. Mossbrucker commented that fake news is used for undermining trust in journalism. Subsequently Dimitar Vatsov quoted his own study on fake news in Bulgaria, and gave concrete examples of propaganda messages. Galyna Schimansky-Geier presented the activities of her organisation and explained how StopFake identify false facts.

More in the event report.

Author

Manuela Zlateva

Publication series

Event Reports

published

Bulgaria, June 27, 2017