Dionis Cenușa: More attention should be devoted to online aspect of misinformation


In the Republic of Moldova, particular attempts were made to diminish the public risk to exposure to misinformation. However, more attention should be devoted to the online aspect of misinformation because the TV channels will play a lessening role in the future. Many citizens in Moldova use online information in Romanian, Russian and English. That’s why the efforts made to prevent misinformation by banning by law foreign political programs could be insufficient as an increasing number of Moldovans access online sources of information, Dionis Cenușa, a political scientist, researcher at the Institute of Political Sciences at Liebig-Justus University in Giessen, Germany, stated in the public debate “Why information resilience is needed and how it can be ensured” that was staged by IPN News Agency.

The expert said the states are influenced by the information insecurity in a different way. Moldova is the closest to Ukraine, while Ukraine is the key target for Russian misinformation. “At the same time, there are situations when the authoritarian regimes of the region create information security through the own actions. They can annihilate not only what comes from the West, but also those from inside that disseminate messages unwanted by the authorities. The Eastern Partnership area often gives clear examples of the kind, in Belarus and Azerbaijan, when the regimes are interested in distorting the information in favor of the own doctrines,” he stated.

According to Dionis Cenușa, to keep misinformation under control and ensure information resilience, the legislation should be updated for introducing new definitions, such as that of “information resilience” that is an element of information security. “We should see what the SIS does and how well it does and should understand how much the Audiovisual Council can contribute. If it cannot cope, institutions specialized in “milder security” that apply a different type of techniques to combat informational dangers should be engaged”.

In another development, Dionis Cenușa said the messages in Russian that is spoken by the ethnic minorities have a greater impact. “The one that transmits the message, how this does it and the one that receives the message matter. If the latter was besieged by negative information during the last few years, it is practically impossible to anticipate a positive reaction in this group. The problem resides not only in the fact that a part of the parties fuel only with negative information a particular segment of the population, but also in the fact that the ethnic minorities in the Republic of Moldova are connected to transboundary sources of information that produce that volume of negative information,” he stated.

The public debate “Why information resilience is needed and how it can be ensured” was the 159th installment of the series “Developing political culture through public debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.