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Ahead of the EU - Western Balkans Summit, civil society discusses how to build resilience to disinformation

04/10/2021 - 17:35
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At the second edition of the EU-Western Balkans Media Literacy Conference, the EU brought together fact-checkers, journalists, youth and authorities from the Western Balkans and the rest of Europe to discuss building resilience to disinformation. The event attracted the attention of around 700 viewers online, in addition to the audience present in The Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje.

© Mim (Macedonian Institute for Media)

Ahead of the EU – Western Balkans summit (Brdo, 6 October 2021), the second edition of the EU-Western Balkans Media Literacy conference took place on 27 September 2021, as a hybrid event online and with in-person participation in Skopje, North Macedonia.

Addressing the conference, the EU High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell said:

Dealing with disinformation requires a whole-of-government approach that facilitates whole-of-society participation. In 10 days, the European Union – Western Balkans Summit will take place, the most important high-level event for discussing our relations. There is no doubt on the European Union side: the Western Balkans are at the heart of Europe and we share responsibility for building a peaceful, prosperous and united Europe. And we also share responsibility for communicating about it.”

He also said that “the Conference is a clear example of the productive cooperation between the people of the Western Balkans and the European Union to tackle common challenges. Investing in empowering the people of the Western Balkans means investing in a stronger Europe.

Ahead of the upcoming European Union – Western Balkans Summit, representatives from the Western Balkans and the EU exchanged on the issues of disinformation, social media and the challenges for professional journalism, and the importance of media literacy in the new media environment. 

This event is part of a series of public and civic engagements from the Western Balkans contributing to the discussions of the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE). Policy-oriented conclusions of the Conference will be uploaded on the platform of the CoFoE. 

EU-Western Balkans Media Literacy conference

The second edition of the EU - Western Balkans Media Literacy conference was opened by President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski, High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell, Head of EU delegation David Geer and Director of Macedonian Institute for Media Biljana Petkovska.

The conference featured a number of distinguished speakers and participants from the Western Balkans and the EU, including Rosana Aleksoska, Citizens Association “MOST” of North Macedonia;  Klodiana Kapo, Director of the Fact Checking Service “Faktoje” of Albania; Dragana Zarkovic Obradovic, Country Director BIRN Serbia; Agron Bajrami, Chief Editor of Koha Ditore of Kosovo; Tijana Cvjetićanin, Editor of “Raskrinkavanje” of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Milan Jovanovic, Researcher of the Digital Forensic Centre of Montenegro.

The Conference was organised by the EU and the Macedonian Institute for Media (MIM), as part of the EU’s activities aimed at building resilience to disinformation in North Macedonia and the Western Balkans region by investing in media literacy and supporting civil society and media freedom.

The first edition of the conference titled “Media Literacy and the Fight against Disinformation in the Time of Pandemic” took place online and on location in Brussels, Sarajevo and Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina) on 29 September 2020.

The Conference conclusions will be taken into account for the follow-up activities that will keep disinformation resilience-building community engaged until the next edition of the EU –Western media literacy gathering, which is planned for 2022.