Global experts and practitioners increasingly warn that the phenomenon of disinformation should be viewed through a security lens. Malignant actors recognize and abuse the capacity of disinformation to undermine democratic processes and practices, erode the trust of the population in public institutions, and create tears in the social fabric of societies. While every country in the world faces the challenge of disinformation, Western Balkans is among those regions that have proven particularly vulnerable and often a target for foreign actors. 74% of Western Balkan citizens consider disinformation a security threat.
The Project Strengthening Societal Resilience and Countering Foreign Perpetrated Disinformation organized a capacity-building training in Portorož on 6-8 June for representatives of Western Balkan governments, media and civil society to foster joint work on countering this threat.
About forty participants took part in the two-and-a-half day long training dedicated to exploring the building blocks of comprehensive and holistic national defence mechanisms in countering disinformation. Renowned experts from across Europe and the US taught the participants how to verify information, detect and react to disinformation, and establish a whole-of-society response model. Progressing from theory to practice, participants used their new knowledge and tools during practical exercises and tailor-made simulations of disinformation event scenarios.
The objective of the Project is to assist the Western Balkan partners to create national response mechanisms to counter foreign-perpetrated disinformation. The training provided space for national and regional cross-sectoral working group discussions that will feed into national recommendations and other activities developed within the Project.
The project is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia through development cooperation funds.