Today, Media Literacy & Disinformation Research Cluster (MeDisInfo) at the Max van der Stoel Institute (MVDSI) hosted an insightful event where the research report “Geopolitical Perspective of Disinformation Flows in The Western Balkans” was presented by the Metamorphosis Foundation. 

Edlira Palloshi Disha, researcher at MeDisInfo, MVDSI opened the event by emphasizing that today’s activity was organized in the light of raising awareness of information disorders and malignant influences, and deepening cooperation with the civil society in North Macedonia. Meanwhile, for this she praised Metamorphosis for being among the first organizations in the country to speak about malign influences and work on fact-checking.

Filip Stojanovski, Director for Partnerships and Resource Development at Metamorphosis, underscored the report’s aim to spotlight disinformation and external influences in North Macedonia and the broader region. He emphasized that disinformation campaigns are not solely a media issue but also pose a significant security threat, destabilizing Western Balkan countries, including North Macedonia.

He highlighted the role of Russia, China, Türkiye, and Iran, noting their diverse interests in the region, with Russian propaganda notably present in North Macedonia and the wider Balkans, while explaining that Serbia serves as a conduit for various malign influences, often disseminated through media channels.

Addressing the strategic interests of Western Balkan countries in NATO and the EU, in this event was emphasized in particular the susceptibility of the region to foreign actors using disinformation to sow division, fuel Euroscepticism, and interfere in anti-Western narratives.

The discussion extended to the impact of disinformation on social networks, particularly its significance and harm for young people. It was proposed increasing educational content in the media as a solution, stressing the need for media education in various branches to counter disinformation.

During the event, participants engaged in a debate, highlighting the complexity of combating disinformation and foreign malign influences.

Albulena Halili, Head of MeDisInfo thanked Mr. Stojanovski and Metamorphosis for the cooperation, while noting that Media literacy should not solely be limited to media and information education, but it should extend to other disciplines, asserting that the battle against disinformation and foreign malignant influences demands a comprehensive approach. 

These initiatives should involve not only the media and civil society, but also active participation from academia, research community and the state.

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