The first online closed-door session for BiH governmental officials ‘Strengthening Societal Resilience and Countering Foreign Perpetrated Disinformation in the Western Balkans’ successfully concludes

On April 14, CEP has organised the first workshop designed for governmental officials coming from BiH aimed at supporting the governments of WB6 in building their national system of countering foreign perpetrated disinformation.

The training was opened by CEP Project Manager, Ana Ješe Perković and CEP Executive Director Katja Geršak who presented the aim of the project and the workshop. The training activities of the first day continued with two expert presentations. Mr Roman Osadchuk, an expert from the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab gave the participants an overview of what is disinformation, how to counter it and what are the most useful online tools we can use to deal with disinformation. The second expert, Mr Darko Brkan from a Bosnian fact-checking NGO Zašto ne presented the current disinformation trends in the Western Balkans. The first day concluded with a discussion about the main problems regarding foreign perpetrated disinformation in BiH and what should be done to tackle it.

The second part of the training was held on May 17th, with a guest lecturer from the Lithuanian MFA – an expert working on strategic communications presented us the Lithuanian case study on how to effectively counter disinformation. The participants learned about how Lithuania formed a coordination group among 4 different ministries and what were the biggest obstacles in doing that. Governmental officials from BiH discussed what needs to be done to establish a similar system in their country.
What they learned from the Lithuanian case study is that apart from reacting and debunking disinformation, it is important as well to tell the wider story behind the disinformation and to spread awareness about the fake narratives to the wider public.
Apart from bigger cooperation from the governmental institutions, we also need to collaborate with local civil society and media. A good example could be public consultations among those three stakeholders or an organisation of a media literacy festival.

More about the project activities here.

The series of workshops is a part of the project supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Slovenia’s Development Cooperation Programme.