Policy Papers: Combating Disinformation in the Western Balkans –  Young Leaders Perspective

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 presented policy papers were developed as part of the project named: „Increasing awareness of the hybrid threats: Strengthening resilience in the Western Balkans”, supported by the International Visegrad Fund and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea. 

The lead of the project is The Euro-Atlantic Council in North Macedonia, in cooperation with nine partners from the Balkan and Visegrad countries. 

The teams were formed through a skills workshop, which was organized in Ohrid, with each team comprising six participants, one from each of the project countries in the Western Balkans (WB6), totaling five teams. All groups were mentored by partners from V4 countries.

These teams were tasked with creating a policy paper and an advocacy strategy aimed at addressing the growing threat of disinformation in the Western Balkans. Concurrently, each team was responsible for promoting their policy paper at the National Symposiums, which were organized during October 2023  in each respective country.

The policy papers they’ve produced offer fresh insights into critical topics connected with disinformation that impact the Western Balkans.

The topics of the policy papers were:

  • 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