From the 2nd until March 4th , a two-day workshop organized by АЈМ and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation was held in Strumica with the title “Disinformation in the online media – Practices and solutions” in which more than 30 online media from all over Macedonia took part.
During the two days, lecturers Toše Ognjanov, multimedia journalist and lecturer on topics like mobile and multimedia journalism, Sefer Selimi, founder and director of Democracy Lab, and Goran Momiroski, founder, and editor-in-chief of the Ohrid News.mk, addressed several aspects of this topic that affect online media: disinformation through photos and videos, checking news and data through maps and visualizations, disinformation in online media – local context.
In his introductory speech, the president of AJM, Mladen Chadikovski, welcomed the long-term cooperation with KAS and emphasized the importance of the existence and implementation of this type of workshop.
“We need to encourage a culture of transparency and accountability in online media. This means being open and honest about our reporting practices and providing regular opportunities for feedback and criticism from our audience. We also need to be willing to admit our mistakes and take steps to correct them. By working together to promote ethical and professional standards in online media, we have to ensure that the news and information we provide is accurate, fair, and respectful for the public,” Chadikovski said.
At the beginning, the official representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Daniel Brown, in hid addressing expressed his satisfaction with the joint cooperation with AJM through a video message and greeted the participants of the workshop:
„Disinformation is part of hybrid warfare, used especially by anti-democratic regimes and forces to destabilize free societies. Journalism must therefore be guided by quality criteria that check the adoption of news from other sources in this regard. In addition, media users must also critically question the origin of news and be taught how to do so, which should also be a task of modern education“.
Toshe Ognjanov, one of the lecturers, together with his colleagues discussed the topic “Fake news in social media – bots and trolls – social media – fake profiles.
“Statistics show that misinformation spreads six times faster than real news. The most worrying thing is that they cause harm to society, to people, and to the individual in every possible way. We are glad that in the past few days, we had the opportunity to talk with the media workers about a topic related to disinformation, especially about the detection and deciphering of visual disinformation. What can be concluded is that Macedonian professional media workers have a high level of awareness and a high level of critical thinking in relation to the information that is published in the online space. I hope that the tools for easier detection of visual content will enable them to recognize and remove disinformation from the media space” – says Ognjanov.
Goran Momirovski stayed on the topic, but in a local context to draw a parallel between the trend at the world level and in our country.
“The media in the digital era are facing serious challenges. The online space is full of information, but also with misinformation that, if not recognized, can cause major consequences. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all of us who work in the online space to improve professional standards and ethical norms in information. Truth and standards must come before clicks, likes, and statistics.” The workshop developed an open debate about the essential problems and challenges of the media in the age of the Internet and social networks so that media workers feel the need for such training and meetings where, in addition to the exchange of useful information, experiences, and practices, the need for systematic solutions will be discussed in order to prevent and protect the influence of misinformation in the online space, which does not represent only a challenge, but also a global problem” – concluded Momirovski.
Like his colleagues, Sefer Selimi also addressed the danger of misinformation through real examples presented in the form of short videos and a documentary film that triggered the interest of fellow journalists present at the event, which was followed by a discussion.