March 4, 2024
News/Events The Secretariat VerityCon 2023 - Navigating the Disinformation Era

Opening Ceremony | Disinformation undermines the very fabric of our societies

VerityCon2023, the largest conference on freedom of expression in the Western Balkans, kicked off tonight in Tirana.

Organized under the auspices of the Western Balkans Fund, with the support of the Embassy of Japan to Albania and the International Visegrad Fund, VerityCon23 connects over 60 leading experts, journalists, civil society representatives, and policymakers from the WB Area, V4 countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia).

Welcoming the guests, the Executive Director of the Western Balkans Fund, Dr. Murra, underlined that: “For three days, this conference will serve as a platform for open discussions among many distinguished stakeholders, with an emphasis on fostering the right to freely express ideas in relation to combating false information, misleading content, and deliberate falsehoods, including impacts from external sources.”

For the full remarks, please check the previous article

Dr. Murra continued by underlining: “VerityCon2023 will attempt to address all these pressing issues and encourage open and honest discussion, brave and lucid ideas, and innovative and out-of-the-box solutions.”

The Ambassador of Japan to Albania, Mr. Takada, joined the stage. “I hope that you will have a productive and enjoyable time here. I would like to express my great thanks to Dr. Murra and the staff of WBF, and Petr Mares for putting this all together. This is our fifth project together and I appreciate the support you have lent to us.”

“VerityCon2023 will attempt to address all these pressing issues and encourage open and honest discussion, brave and lucid ideas, and innovative and out-of-the-box solutions

Gjergj Murra, Executive Director of the Western Balkans Fund

The Ambassador continued by saying: “The cooperation we have is very important in advancing the relation in the WB Region. This time, the Japanese government provided financial support for the project in the framework of the WB cooperative initiative launched by former Prime Minister Abe of Japan in January 2018. Today, almost two years since the start of the year in Ukraine, Russia’s disinformation campaign and proliferation of disinformation and misleading content are undermining the very fabric of our societies.”

According to H.E. Takada: “This issue becomes more complex in a region like Western Balkans, where conflicts have never been truly put to rest. I believe that the weaponization of information presents unique dangers, as it leaves behind a trail of confusion, turmoil, and division.”

This issue becomes more complex in a region like Western Balkans, where conflicts have never been truly put to rest. I believe that the weaponization of information presents unique dangers, as it leaves behind a trail of confusion, turmoil, and division.

H.E. Takada Mitsuyuki, Ambassador of Japan to Albania

The director of the International Visegrad Fund, Ambassador Mares, started by complimenting the Western Balkans Fund for the organization of this very important conference.

“This conference is an extremely important topic. A topic we all have to face together. It is the same problem here in the Western Balkans as it is in Japan, the US, Central Europe, etc. You are facing problems that are completely new now because of the efforts of powers to disinform, but because we are living under a new situation. Does truth mean to be right or to be wrong?”

It is the same problem here in the Western Balkans as it is in Japan, the US, Central Europe, etc. You are facing problems that are completely new now because of the efforts of powers to disinform, but because we are living under a new situation

Ambassador Petr Mares, Executive Director of the International Visegrad Fund to Albania

Closing the opening ceremony, Mr. Kastriot Robo, from the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, said: “I would like to reconfirm the deep commitment of Albania to strengthen the values of cooperation enshrined in the fundamental agreement of the establishment of the Fund.”

“I have to mention that disinformation and fake news are something that have always happened. However, what is new today is the intensity, the will, and the instrument used by third countries to advance their malign influences. War is not only about bombs but also about the mind of the people, how to conquer the understanding of the people. The first casualty of the war is the truth, and a clear example is the war in Ukraine and the recent conflict in Israel,” he added.