Three media organizations - the Association of Independent Press, the Independent Journalism Center and the Association of Independent Telejournalists – are carrying out a campaign against false and biased information with the aim of informing media consumers about propaganda and misinformation and of teaching them how to identify the false information disseminated by the media and through social networking sites, IPN reports.
Independent Journalism Center director Nadine Gogu has told IPN that such campaigns are very useful because great propaganda from outside, especially Russia, has been felt in Moldova over the last few years. The people are subject to manipulation through news bulletins and talk shows. The campaign will enable to use different instruments by which the people will be helped to understand where the propaganda and manipulation come from.
Association of Independent Press executive director Petru Macovei stated for IPN that the campaign started on November 1 and has several components, including production and distribution of journalistic materials designed to combat false or manipulating information and radio and video investigations into cases of propaganda. There will also be published a supplement to the newspaper “Ziarul de Garda” in Romanian and Russian, on the same issue. There will be held 32 debates all over the country with media consumers of different ages and monthly club discussions with journalists and opinion leaders.
A website will be designed within the campaign to develop the critical spirit of the media consumers - mediacritica.md. Quarterly mass media monitoring reports focusing on the dissemination of manipulating and false information will be produced. There will be carried out two opinion polls, at the beginning of the campaign and at its end, to study people’s perception.
Petru Macovei noted they want at least a part of the people to understand what propaganda means and how they can protect themselves from the harm caused by it. “The propagandistic information wave is now greater because of the geopolitical context. But not only the foreign media provide information in a manipulating way. The national media also do it,” he stated.
The expert said the people should be taught to think themselves and not to allow others to decide in their place. But the people in Moldova weren’t taught to make effort to inform themselves and have confidence in the information provided by the mass media. Given the developments in Moldova and the regional context, the people should start to think critically and to collect facts themselves or they will continue to think that it was better in the USSR.
Nadine Gogu said more instruments should be used to combat propaganda so as not to ban the broadcasting of particular TV channels as the people will simply understand that they are manipulated and will ignore particular information. “If nothing is done, there is the risk that the people will believe everything it is said on TV or we will witness events similar to those in Ukraine. Also, the country’s foreign development course could be changed. The Independent Journalism Center will lay emphasis on the website mediacritica.md, where methods of manipulating through the mass media will be described,” she stated.
The information campaign is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development within the Moldova Partnerships for Sustainable Civil Society Project implemented by FHI 360.