Borrell and Geer: Western Balkans Becomes More Resilient to Fake News

Misinformation and fake news pose a threat to the global world and to world democracy. This was especially evident in the COVID-19 pandemic, when fake news also endangered human health. Media literacy requires systemic efforts, especially in the Western Balkans region, where resistance to fake news is weaker. This was jointly concluded by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, and the EU Ambassador to the country, David Geer, in their addresses at the “EU Media Literacy Conference – Western Balkans: Dealing with Misinformation”, which is being held Monday and Tuesday in Skopje, organized by the EU Delegation in the country and the Macedonian Institute for Media (MIM). Speaking at an online conference, Borrell said disinformation was a threat to democracy around the world, especially during the pandemic, when disinformation affected citizens and polarized societies and puts them at risk, due to false information that was available especially through social networks. He stressed that the EU needs full cooperation in this, especially through institutions and governments, to combat misinformation and strengthen media literacy. Borrell reminded that the key EU-Western Balkans summit will be held in ten days, pointing out that there is no doubt that the Western Balkans are the heart of Europe and that EU has a responsibility to build a peaceful, prosperous and united Europe. Geer cited a report that resistance to fake news in the Western Balkans was weak and led to a general distrust of science. He pointed out that misinformation and narratives about it come in various forms, sometimes they are headlines in the media, and sometimes they are comments, which at first glance seem like completely legitimate news.