Learning to defend yourself against disinformation: an essential skill in the 21st century
We all need to understand better how disinformation works and how to defend ourselves against it. ‘Learn’ aims to teach the readers how to judge the relevance and reliability of sources and their content as well as how to report and react to disinformation. These skills, according to the newly released Digital Competencies Framework for Citizens (DigComp 2.2), form part of the digital skills of the XXI century and are essential for informed citizens.
The page explains the mechanisms, tactics, common narratives and actors behind disinformation and information manipulation. It offers insights into the pro-Kremlin media ecosystem, and also explains the philosophy behind foreign information manipulation and interference. In the response part, the readers can find easy response technics that anyone can apply and afterwards they can practice their newly acquired skills through quizzes and games.
The threat of disinformation requires a very wide spectrum of responses. In line with this year’s Global MIL Week theme: ‘Nurturing trust: A Media and Information Literacy Imperative’, we asked world-renowned fact-checkers and media specialists for their take on trust in relation to media and ways of responding to disinformation.
Maria Ressa, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, journalist and CEO of Rappler, a fact-checking organization from the Philippines, considers trust to be the foundation of democracy. “If you don’t have facts, you can’t have truth. Without truth you can’t have trust. Without these three we have no shared reality, no ability to solve any problems, we have no democracy”. She adds: “don’t think about disinformation as one lie, think about it as behaviour modification system. It is literally like being affected by a virus that changes the way you look at the world”. Ressa recommends to stop sharing content on social media “if you are feeling angry, when you hate someone or you are afraid for your future – that is when social media gets you scrolling and sharing”.
According to Vadym Miskyi, a fact-checker from the Ukrainian organisation Detector media and author of a podcast on Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, disinformation is a corrosive force, created when facts are distorted. The antidote? Media literacy, namely “the power of having trust in where your information comes from. The power of being informed”.
Ksenia Luchenko, PhD, journalist and former head of educational programs in the field of media in Russian universities notes that “propagandists and conscious producers of fakes aim at the weakest and most delicate thing in every human being - one’s feelings, traumas, hopes and fears - and cynically use them for manipulation”. She sees a possible solution in knowledge and digital skills: “people with a high level of media literacy are less susceptible to manipulation; they don’t panic but instead feel confident, which allows them to be effective and calm”.
There is certainly no “one-size-fits- all” solution to heal the world of distorted facts and corroded trust. However, collectively we can increase our immunity to disinformation and fightback effectively. Visit “Learn” to find out more.
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Visit Learn: https://euvsdisinfo.eu/learn/. The page is currently available in English, Ukrainian and Russian, other language versions will follow.