Panel Discussion: Countering Disinformation in the Public Sphere

IVLP Impact Award recipients discussed their work and ways to strengthen community resistance to disinformation and fake news through media literacy at a panel discussion on October 19, 2022, organized by Meridian International Center. 

Dr. Rumena Filipova moderated the discussion with Debora Peci, project manager in good governance at Democracy Plus, a think tank in Kosovo, and Ignacy Niemczycki, chairman of the Bronislaw Geremek Foundation and board member of the Akcja Demokracja Foundation in Poland. Three takeaways stood out. First, fostering media literacy represents a multifaceted task that includes the transmission of digital competences (such as awareness of how algorithms function on social media) as well as teaching how to recognize disinformation. Modes of promoting media literacy require responsiveness to evolving teaching styles and student needs such as attractive and catchy material. Second, there should be a differentiated approach to the different susceptibilities of various age groups, while acknowledging that disinformation is a threat to everyone. The difficulty of changing deeply rooted views means that building resilience to disinformation can be most effective among those groups in society, which are ambivalent, i.e. not firmly set in their views. Third, social media does not only contain challenges but also possibilities and can serve as a site for empowerment and tackling citizens’ passivity.