On May 19 and 20, 2022 a pilot training for Bulgarian journalists was conducted as part of the platform Science+ developed by Free Press for Eastern Europe (Czechia) and Free Press Unlimited.
The training took place in Sofia Tech Parк and focused on equipping the trainees with conceptual and practical tools to recognize medial disinformation (particularly as utilized in the context of war and military propaganda) and leverage science-based reporting. The trainers included Ruslan Trad (Free Press Unlimited/Atlantic Council DFRLab), Veronika Stefanova (Geneticist/Co-Founder at the Book Club Sofia), Mina Kirkova (Factcheck.bg/Deutsche Welle), Petar Teodosiev (Editor-in-Chief “Bulgarian Science” magazine) and IGA’s Dr. Rumena Filipova.
Dr. Filipova delivered a lecture, which acquainted the trainees with the external factors that affect domestic media freedom standards and reinforce the dissemination of disinformation. She detailed the tools, tactics and strategies of Russian and Chinese media influence in Bulgaria and the wider Balkan and Central and East European region and clarified the impact of Russian and Chinese ‘vaccine diplomacy’ in the Balkans over the course of the pandemic.