The VerityCon23 International Conference, a flagship event organized by the Western Balkans, culminated with the presentation of preliminary findings and recommendations from our experts.
This crucial discussion was overseen by our moderator, Mr Uros Citakovic.
Commencing the conclusive panel was Ms. Blerjana Bino from the SciDEV Center, who emphasized, “Disinformation isn’t new, yet combating it demands addressing its breeding ground, going to the roots of political polarization, tensions, and divisions.”
Elaborating further, she stressed the need for collective action, stating, “We must exert pressure from media, civil society organizations, and citizens, as politics will not do it alone.”
Disinformation isn’t new, yet combating it demands addressing its breeding ground, going to the roots of political polarization, tensions, and divisionsBlerjana Bino
Discussing the legal framework, Ms. Bino advocated for an enabling environment for journalism, emphasizing improved working conditions and safeguards against threats and intimidation from powerful elites. She highlighted the necessity of self-regulation mechanisms while urging for enhanced transparency, accountability, and emphasizing the pivotal role of access to information, particularly in matters of political party funding and media ownership.
Addressing media and information literacy, she cautioned that while crucial, it’s not a swift solution, asserting, “Impact is long term, yet education remains paramount.”
Professor Rrapo Zguri, a lecturer in the Department of Journalism at the University of Tirana, underscored the complexity of balancing regulation and self-regulation. He emphasized the immediate need for research, advocacy, and transparency, noting the urgency stressed by multiple speakers.
Identifying foreign sources as the most perilous disseminators of disinformation, he urged acknowledgment of disinformation as coordinated international behavior and advocated for measures supporting a more informed and resilient society.
I think that WBF should put more efforts with Japan, other donors, or our funds to invest and support events like this because it provides a wonderful regional platform to connectDafina Beqiri
As the conference drew to a close, Dafina Beqiri, Senior Program Manager of the Western Balkans Fund, expressed gratitude to key supporters, including Mr. Fujimura for his invaluable facilitation in working with Japan and the International Visegrad Fund.
“We signed the contract for the Conference only on 7 September and we were able to put all this together in only 1.5 months. I would like to thank Mr. Fujimura who was a big support to us for facilitating all the work with Japan and the International Visegrad Fund who was very supportive when we presented the idea and of course, all our experts”.
Dafina disclosed that “we are launching the Annual Call for Proposals very soon. We are a grant-giving organization and I encourage all of you to consider applying, as media is one of the key stakeholders of our grants”.
Finally, Ms. Beqiri shared her expectation to “make this event an annual one. I think that WBF should put more efforts with Japan, other donors, or our funds to invest and support events like this because it provides a wonderful regional platform to connect”.
The VerityCon23 Conference dropped the curtains with a family picture.
Striking the balance between regulation and self-regulation is very complex. It means for sure we need to do more research, advocacy and transparency. We need strategic long-term and sustainable solutions, but in the same time we need to act now as it was emphasized by many of the speakers over the last days. On the other hand, there has never been a better time to speak about the importance of the truthRrapo Zguri