On August 10, 2019, an interactive seminar entitled “Disinformation in the media, how to recognize it and how to deal with it” was held in Chisinau. Part 1.
On August 10, in Chisinau, at the Conference Center “Summit”, the first interactive seminar “Disinformation in the mass media, how to recognize it and how to deal with it” was held as part of the project “Mass Media. Formation of opinion. Human rights in the countries of the Eastern Partnership and Russia”. The project is carried out by the national sections of the International Society for Human Rights, with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office.
The seminar in Chisinau was organized by the Moldovan section of the ISHR.
The seminar was attended by well-known political figures of Moldova, scientists, lawyers, independent journalists, representatives of civil society.
Natalia Shmurgun, a well-known journalist in Moldova, presented to the seminar participants very informative material, which aroused great interest of the seminar participants.
Within her presentation, the speaker touched on several topics that are currently relevant for the entire world media space. She gave examples of misinformation and manipulation of public opinion, both in Western countries and in the countries of the Eastern Partnership. In particular, she demonstrated examples of misinformation in the Moldovan media space.
Unfortunately it was admitted that social networks and media resources do not provide access to open and reliable information. In order to achieve their selfish goals, many online publications, journalists, bloggers, both in Europe and America, use methods that are almost equivalent to those used in totalitarian states.
It was noted that an overabundance of factual material, a variety of forms of presenting information, along with the inability to verify the reliability and impartiality of information led to the depreciation of the very concept of “reliability”.
After the presentation, the seminar participants actively engaged in the discussion and told about how they face the problem of distorting the truth in their daily activities.
The opinion to the effect that journalists are required to provide objective information was expressed.
However, a lot depends on the publisher, on the owner of the media. Specific examples were given on how journalists could not publish their articles and give honest information, since it was contrary to the interests of those in power.
This is especially noticeable in the political sphere. Thus, according to studies, it was noted that in Moldova during the first three months of this year the number of cases with calls to hatred, violence or discrimination in the media space increased by 83%.
In this regard, the question of how to deal with those who disseminate misinformation and what the person who has been subjected to this kind of discrimination needs to do has caused revival.
The participant of the seminar, a well-known Moldovan lawyer answered this question and gave examples of successful resolution of such issues in court. But as practice shows, people rarely go to the law and do not trust the courts. This is especially true for our country, where the level of trust in the judicial system is very low, or the sources of misinformation are outside the borders of Moldova. In these cases, the support of international structures is needed.
The website of the International Society for Human Rights “humanrights-online.org” has been demonstrated to the seminar participants.
The seminar participants were informed that they could provide their information regarding human rights for posting on the website.
Gennady Kaunov, moderator of the seminar and part-time assistant of the project coordinator, spoke about the seminars that have already been held in other countries as part of the ISHR joint project. He drew special attention to such a widespread problem as the use of the language of hatred in online communities and the negative impact it has on society as a whole.
It was noted that the Internet and social networks are a very powerful tool that we – public figures, journalists, politicians – should use to create a sustainable democratic civil society.
At the conclusion of the seminar, the participants expressed gratitude for the comprehensive information and for the opportunity to use it in their future professional activities.