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SMIDGE Hosts Panel on Combating Disinformation

Expert panelists discuss the role of fact-checking organisations and media education in combating disinformation.

The SMIDGE Project hosted an insightful panel discussion on disinformation as part of the Work Package 6 focused on creating counter-narratives led by the Kosovar Center for Security Studies (KCSS). This event was held on September 21, 2023, in Prishtina, Kosovo, in conjunction with the 2nd edition of the Kosovo Peace and Democracy Summit (KPDS), a collaborative effort by KCSS, New Social Initiative (NSI) and Sbunker.

Combating malign foreign influence in the Western Balkans is a multifaceted challenge that involves various aspects of information, security, diplomacy and societal resilience. Due to its geopolitical significance and historical complexities, the Balkan region has been a target for various forms of external interference, including disinformation campaigns, political manipulation, and efforts to undermine stability and democratic processes.

The panel, titled 'Truth vs. Disinformation: Combating Malign Foreign Influence in the Western Balkans', delved into crucial aspects. It explored key indicators of foreign malign influence in the Western Balkans; the pivotal roles of fact-checking organisations and media literacy programs in countering disinformation and propaganda campaigns originating from foreign actors, and the cybersecurity measures and strategies essential for safeguarding critical infrastructure and systems from foreign interference, including cyberattacks.

Panelists included:

• Ana Marija Ivković, Editor-in-Chief, Alternativna

• Bardhyl Jashari, Executive Director, Metamorphosis Foundation

• Darko Brkan, President, Zašto Ne (Online)

• Jeton Mehmeti, Chairperson, Kosovo Independent Media Commission

Moderated by: Fitim Gashi, Project Manager, Sbunker

KCSS, an independent policy research centre, stands as a vital partner organisation within the SMIDGE project. They hold the leadership position in Work Package 6, which focuses on generating alternative counter content and educational tools. These resources aim to foster positive reflection and critical thinking, ultimately curbing the dissemination and influence of extremist narratives.


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