Vasile Cantarji: Public opinion is shaped by fake news rather than correct information

Sociological data show public opinion is more powerfully influenced by fake reports than by correct information that is disseminated in the public sphere. The politicians communicate with society improperly and only when it is suitable for them, they becoming a source of incorrect information that they try to use for personal goals, Vasile Cantarji, sociologist of the Center of Sociological Investigations SBS-AXA, stated in IPN’s public debate “Society’s attitude to the EU: objective reasons and political and geopolitical manipulations. Situation in Moldova against situation in Ukraine and Georgia”.

According to Vasile Cantarji, Moldova’s information sphere is considerably dominated by the media products of Russia. When trying to find out what the people base on when they say they are pro-European, it becomes evident that the ordinary citizens know not much or don’t know how they would vote in an eventual referendum on entry into the EU. There are many people who do not see the difference between the European Union and the Eurasian Union and do not know many of the advantages offered by the two, mentioning the market, many jobs and well-paid jobs as regards the EU and cheap gas and jobs in Russia as regards the Eurasian Union. When they are asked about the disadvantages of entering the EU, the people mention the homosexuals and attacks on the traditional family, but this is fake information disseminated by particular politicians. To remedy the situation, the state should sincerely and openly communicate, but this is not done now.

“Comparing Moldova with Georgia and Ukraine, we should note that both of the states experienced the unfreezing of conflicts with the Russian Federation. In Ukraine, the pro-UE balance reversed namely as a result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In Moldova, the collective mentality is powerfully affected by the competition of two values: stability and competition. Those who are nostalgic for the Soviet Union are skeptical and deplore the stability they remember in the Soviet Union and hate competition that disadvantages them against the others and makes them dependent on the state.”

In another development, Vasile Cantarji said public perception of the European integration is primarily based on fake reports generated by one of the players involved in the geopolitical confrontation. A study carried out in 2018 showed media consumption powerfully models the citizens’ opinion about the integration into the EU and foreign leaders. All the countries of the region do not ensure proper communication as regards the EU and why we should be heading for this.

The sociologist also said that an increasing number of people would vote for the union with Romania at an eventual referendum. But the politicians use such data in a manipulative way and try to present this fact as a threat to the country’s statehood, while others attempt to build a career on unionism. However, the unionists in Moldova are in some cases more able than the politicians who try to explore unionism. Some 60-70% of them have a positive attitude to Romania, but when they are asked about an eventual referendum on the union with Romania, only over 30% say they would vote in favor of the union.

The public debate “Society’s attitude to the EU: objective reasons and political and geopolitical manipulations. Situation in Moldova against situation in Ukraine and Georgia” is the 185th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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