The civil society in an open debate on misinformation
On 12 June 2023, the first of three events on disinformation, part of an initiative by the European Economic and Social Committee, took place at the House of Europe.
The project involves organizing events and awareness-raising campaigns in the Member States of the European Union. Bulgaria has been selected as the pilot country. Citizen Participation Forum was invited as a speaker in a panel “Civic society can defeat misinformation”.
Dimitris Dimitriadis, President of the External Relations Section (REX) at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) addressed the relevance of the issue of disinformation concerning the serious events that have taken place in recent years, commenting on the need for uniting civil society against disinformation.
Alice Stolmeier, Executive Directorat, Defend Democracy, spoke about civil society as a consumer and creator of disinformation and proposed concrete mechanisms to fight against it.
Georgi Petrov, Citizen Participation Forum, pointed out that greater media and information literacy is necessary for citizens to understand the problem and recognize misinformation. He remarked how crucial it is for civic organizations to have the support of both the state and the media to counter misinformation better.
Miroslav Tsekov, Chairman of the National Youth Forum, Bulgaria, emphasized each content creator’s responsibility and added that education is the key to finding a solution. Although he acknowledged that the fight against disinformation is already underway, he said that society needs education that teaches critical thinking.
The European Economic and Social Committee shared that misinformation tends to spread horizontally through the population, so the best way to tackle this problem is not through a top-down approach, but through reflection and direct citizen participation. This is where organized civic society can play a crucial role and this is the reason why the project aims to encourage civil society to engage directly in discussions on misinformation.
Read more about misinformation today, how to recognize it, and how to defeat it here.