The Platform for discussions focused on combating disinformation had its third working session

2024.06.10 Dezinformare Maria Procopciuc Print version


The Platform for discussions focused on combating disinformation in a national, regional, and international context, represented by journalists, students, teachers, and non-governmental organizations active in the field of disinformation, met on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, in its third working session. At the event have been presented four articles by four participants in the Training Program on Critical Thinking and Media Literacy, held between May and June 2023. The articles analyzed four impactful news topics, distorted or presented in an intentionally erroneous way by Russian propaganda and Russian influence agencies in the Republic of Moldova, to disinform the Moldovan public opinion.

Carolina Ungureanu, project coordinator, and deputy director of IDIS "Viitorul", reminded the participants that the exercise on writing analyses/articles is a practical activity part of the Training program on critical thinking and media literacy, in which about 35 people participated, and who now have the opportunity to apply the acquired knowledge in practice, in the writing of analyses/articles, which are presented within the Discussion Platform.

Mihail Nesteriuc analyzed the phenomenon of “Moldovenism” as a pseudo-national ideology and a manifestation of anti-Romanian hate speech, which is promoted by the Kremlin's agents of influence in the Republic of Moldova to divide society through social network and mass media propaganda tools. In his opinion, “Moldovenism” is not an ideology, but an anti-ideology, which "always denies the other". "The architects of Moldevanism decided to build an ideology of denial of Romanian national and ethnic identity. During the 30 years of independence of the Republic of Moldova, pro-Kremlin parties have used "Moldovenism" as the soil on which to cultivate their main narratives. The Republic of Moldova faces numerous challenges in the face of the hybrid war waged by the Russian Federation. In recent years, disinformation and manipulation have been used as important tools to influence public opinion and destabilize the political and social situation in the country," said Mihail Nesteriuc.

Mihai Avasiloaie tried to explain how a fake about the expulsion of priests from the Republic of Moldova was "rolled" on the Russian propaganda channels on Telegram. According to Mihai Avasiloaie, several Russian-language Telegram channels wrote that the President of the Republic of Moldova, Maia Sandu, "will expel Moldovan priests from the country" on the grounds of "espionage activity", and the first on the list will be Archbishop Savva (Volkov ) of Tiraspol and Dubăsari. These statements do not correspond to reality, Mihai Avasiloaie arguing that: "In reality, Archbishop Sava is a citizen of the Republic of Moldova and cannot be expelled, and President Maia Sandu is not the authority responsible for the execution of such a measure. The information was promoted on Telegram channels known for promoting falsehoods and pro-Kremlin propaganda narratives," said Mihai Avasiloaie.

Alexandru Tetelea noticed that the population census, conducted between April 8 and July 7, 2024, became the subject of misinformation in Moldovan society. "Once the census was announced, an ”artificial panic” was created in the public space about its objectives. Among the citizens, various theories began to be transmitted, according to which the stated objectives are only a pretext, the real ones being presented by the Russian propaganda as somewhat occult and remaining hidden. While watching the press briefings of some political actors, and monitoring some pro-Russian Telegram channels, I noticed that the disinformation that is spreading in society on the subject of the census is part of a well-designed and implemented strategy by Kremlin agents," declared Alexandru Tetelea.

Nicolae Ghidiu analyzed the speech of local leaders from Gagauzia in the context of the referendum on European integration. The analysis highlights several narratives of the local leaders of the autonomy who, by virtue of their public function, form a circle of trusted people, with influence in the region, who frequently appear in the public space, respectively, the impact of the messages broadcast by them has grown and can change the opinions and attitudes of the consumers of messages through narratives aimed at mass disinformation of the local population. "Using disinformation is a way to maintain or strengthen control over the local population, by spreading false or distorted information, UTAG leaders may try to influence people's perceptions and opinions in their favor, to manipulate public opinion, promote certain political agendas or personal interests, to maintain or intensify political tensions in the region," writes Nicolae Ghidiu in his analysis.

“It was a session with interesting and necessary presentations on misinformation, which is a prominent issue in our society. I believe that such exercises would also be very useful for the general public, to have a clearer idea of ​​what is happening in the information environment in the Republic of Moldova", concluded Nicoleta German, a member of the Discussion Platform.

"In the Republic of Moldova, disinformation is promoted by the followers of the current regime in power in the Russian Federation. If you look at what is happening in the relations between the Republic of Moldova and Romania, with the European Union (EU), which Russia does not like, the same narratives are being promoted, namely that the Moldovans have a different identity, that they are not Romanian, that they speak the Moldovan language, that Romania and the EU want to subjugate the Republic of Moldova, that Romania promotes fascism, that the EU and NATO mean war, that the destruction of the Republic of Moldova is being pursued. Everything that the Kremlin regime seeks to weaken is attacked through the same tactics of disinformation", observed Pavel Vintilă, a member of the Discussion Platform.

The Discussion Platform was launched on October 16, 2023, within the project "Supporting critical thinking and resistance to disinformation in the Republic of Moldova", implemented by IDIS "Viitorul", in the period January 2023 - October 2024, with the financial support of the Embassy of Finland to Bucharest. At the first meeting, the first five articles were presented. On February 6, 2024, two more articles were presented during the second working session. In total, 11 articles were developed out of the total of 15 provided for in the project. The Discussion Platform aims to facilitate cooperation between the public, journalists, and the regulatory agency in the context of the fight against disinformation in a national, regional, and international context. Also, this aims to ensure a participative environment for debate, with workshops where topics related to critical thinking, media literacy, analysis, resistance to disinformation, and reflecting information of public interest are discussed in an unbiased manner.

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