The Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) "Viitorul" has launched a training programme on critical thinking, media literacy, analysis, resisting misinformation and reflecting public interest information in an unbiased way. Forty journalists, representatives of media organisations, teachers who teach media literacy in schools, members of the Audiovisual Council, who want to increase their capacity to deal with misinformation, but also to acquire new skills and knowledge, signed up for the programme.
The training programme is part of the project "Supporting Critical Thinking and Resisting Disinformation in the Republic of Moldova" and involves 20 sessions, which run from 3 May until 22 June 2023.
Liubomir Chiriac, Executive Director of IDIS "Viitorul", said at the launch of the programme: "Given what is happening now in the Republic of Moldova, in the world, in the region, it is very important to have trained people who have a correct understanding of what is going on, who have skills and competences in new approaches to dealing with these facts. With your help, we need to get it right. As a result of this programme, many of you, in a certain period of time, will become opinion leaders and in this way we will be able to overcome the problems that exist at the moment".
Carolina Ungureanu, deputy director of IDIS "Viitorul", said: "We want this training programme to be an exchange of best practices, where we work together on case studies and practical exercises. The focus will be more on concrete cases from both national and international experience. Journalists, students, civil society representatives, media education teachers from all over Moldova (Cahul, Cimislia, Briceni, Comrat, Balti, Leova, Ocnita, Stefan Voda, Straseni, Criuleni Dondușeni, etc.) who want to strengthen their capacities have been selected for this programme and we are offering them this opportunity, because we need a critical thinking society and a well-educated young generation".
Liliana Vițu, President of the Audiovisual Council (AC), said: "With this activity, IDIS offers the opportunity for six people from the monitoring department of the AC to participate in this programme. It is very important for those who monitor, those who are responsible to say whether this content is problematic or not problematic, whether it is a breach of information integrity or not, whether it is bad journalism if it is not a second opinion, it is with bad intention or bad faith. For our monitors to notice and do their job well, they need to be trained too. Things are changing. The world is changing. What was valid yesterday is questionable today. Unfortunately, we live in a world where liberal-democratic countries are already fewer in number. 75% of all countries in the world are countries with authoritarian regimes. If after the Second World War there was a triumph of liberal-democratic principles, now there is a regression and authoritarian regimes are making gains. I would like such monitoring to be done by CSOs as well. In many countries the regulator has partnerships with non-governmental organisations and the monitoring, the content analysis, is done by NGOs for the regulator, who treat them as their reports".
Elena Tașcă, representative of the education directorate of Hincesti district, said:"With the introduction of the media education optional course in schools, a shortcoming in the teaching methods of the subject was observed. We have followed your invitation to train us, the specialists of the directorate, so that later we can provide teachers with support on new methods of teaching this optional course, to make students more open, to know about the information they receive which is correct and which is incorrect. We need to develop those skills in students to make a difference".
Andrei Bargan, Media TV journalist, Cimislia, said: "There is a big change in the world. We are in the digital age. We are bombarded with information of all sorts and kinds. In order not to become part of this process of incorrect dissemination of information, we must firstly not become victims of misinformation and secondly not mislead others. The impact of the information passed on by journalists is great, and the responsibility towards society must also be great. At such courses, at such trainings, we manage to gain knowledge, skills, tools and mechanisms to protect ourselves and society".
On Wednesday, 3 May 2023, Mariana Iacco, university lecturer, addressed the topic of media education. Thus, the participants discussed the terms media education / media literacy; went through the history of the development of media education; how media education has developed in the world, what international practices on teaching media education in schools are in the UK, Finland, Australia, USA, France, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany etc. but also what is the national experience on media education. Also discussed were the "ingredients" of literacy, the Media Literacy Index 2022 and the European Media Literacy Profile etc.
On Thursday 4 May, IDIS "Viitorul" expert Veaceslav Berbeca will talk to participants in two other sessions about what lies behind disinformation trends and the myths behind disinformation campaigns.
The following sessions will discuss techniques to combat disinformation; false information as part of disinformation; international experience and best practices in combating disinformation. Participants will also be trained on fact-checking; the specifics of online disinformation; the role of new technologies in disinformation campaigns; and the role of journalists in combating disinformation, etc.
Participants in the training programme will have the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in practice and develop 15 evaluations / case studies / monitoring / analyses on topics related to misinformation, media literacy and critical thinking. A cooperation platform will also be created, where evaluations will be presented and recommendations will be made. Twelve infographics will also be developed on the basis of relevant information contained in the results and findings of studies, analyses, case studies etc. A "red flags tool" will be developed in the form of a guide for journalists and media users, focusing on how to identify false information.
The project has so far mapped media institutions and civil society organisations active in the media space. Meetings were held with the members of the Board of Directors to outline the objectives of the project and the contribution that civil society can make in this area. A study will be carried out on how the most influential Moldovan media institutions cover internal and external issues affecting society from the perspective of misinformation, the presentation of fake news.
The project "Supporting Critical Thinking and Resisting Disinformation in the Republic of Moldova", implemented by IDIS "Viitorul" from January 2023 to October 2024, is financially supported by the Embassy of Finland in Bucharest.
IDIS "Viitorul" is an independent think tank established in 1993 that combines social, political and economic research with strong advocacy components. The institution conducts applied monitoring research on several areas: economics, social policy, EU policies, regional development, but also security and foreign policy risks.
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