National Symposium on Countering Disinformation in Tirana

On October 5, 2023, the team of Strategic Analysis Think Tank, in cooperation with The Euro-Atlantic Council of North Macedonia and PERSPEKTIVA and seven partners from the Balkans and Visegrad countries, co-organized the National Symposium on Countering Disinformation in Tirana.

National Symposium on Countering Disinformation in Tirana is a part of the project named „Increasing Awareness of the hybrid threats – Strengthening Resilience in the Western Balkans” which aims to increase the capacity of Western Balkan civil society in countering disinformation to strengthen democracy, societies‘ resilience, integration to the EU and socio-economic development by improving their skills and knowledge through discussions with experts with strong pro-transatlantic and European values.

The Western Balkans, as a region historically marked by complex political dynamics, is especially vulnerable to the insidious influence of disinformation. Whether fuelled by geopolitical interests, domestic rivalries, or malicious actors seeking to sow discord, disinformation can have far-reaching consequences. It can undermine trust in institutions, stoke ethnic tensions, and erode the foundations of democracy itself.

The National Symposium on Countering Disinformation aims to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing among stakeholders invested in combating the growing challenge of disinformation in the Western Balkans. This event holds a unique position as it bridges the gap between policy and real-world experiences, creating a space for fruitful discussions and practical solutions.

In the official opening participated Mr. Luis Bekteshi, Executive Director, Perspektiva, and  Mr. Jan CINGEL, President and Founder of the Strategic Analysis Think Tank.

During the Symposium, the policy papers were authored by five working groups of young experts from the Western Balkans. These working groups consisted of active participants of the workshop on combatting disinformation held in Ohrid in May 2023. The policy papers they’ve produced offered fresh insights into critical topics connected with disinformation that impact the Western Balkans.

The topics which were discussed:

  • Unregistered Media as a Tool of Spreading the Disinformations in the Western Balkans: Case Study on Non-Enlargement
  • Regional cooperation for tackling the spread of disinformation in the Western Balkans
  • Electoral Disinformation in the Western Balkans
  • Media Literacy in Education – A Western Balkans Perspective
  • Truth in the Age of Disinformation: Investing in Fact-Checking Organizations in the Western Balkans

At the end of the Symposium, there was a Panel Discussion about Hybrid Threats in Albania, which focused on the multifaceted challenges posed by hybrid warfare and its impact on the security landscape in Albania, providing valuable insights and strategies for addressing these complex issues.

The aim of the project is to strengthen the resilience of young people from the Western Balkans region, which appears to be vulnerable to the influence of propaganda, disinformation, and hybrid threats that undermine the democratization process in the region.   Through the mobilization and activation of CSOs in the Western Balkans region, we would not only strengthen the critical thinking of young people, but more importantly, we would raise awareness about disinformation online. The impact of the project will be to create a network of active future leaders who will act as multipliers in their communities, thus addressing hybrid threats and disinformation in the Western Balkans.

The project is generously funded by the International Visegrad Fund and MFA Republic of Korea.