Round Table: “The hybrid politics phenomenon in the Eastern European region: informational security from the media perspective in Moldova and Ukraine”.

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“The hybrid politics phenomenon in the Eastern European region: informational security from the media perspective in Moldova and Ukraine”, this being the main topic discussed at the round table today, May 31, organized by the Association for Foreign Policy (APE), with the support of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR).

The event was attended by experts and representatives of civil society, mass media, public institutions including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Ministry of Defense, Intelligence and Security Service, the Broadcasting Council etc. Also, the round table brought together national academia, and representatives of the diplomatic community and international donors of Moldova.

The IWPR Program Director, Beka Bajelidze specified that the Eastern Partnership countries need to improve their understanding about hybrid threats, including to overcome certain regional barriers, even in the Black Sea basin, for ex. in Georgia, the information crisis is well known.

During the two sessions, the experts stressed the importance of correctly perceiving the concepts of hybrid threats, propaganda and false news, as well as the urgent need to have a common internal vision on this phenomenon, which weakens the security of the Republic of Moldova. The speakers pointed the need to adapt society, public authorities and the media to new hybrid threats, taking into account the latest geopolitical developments in the region. It was also mentioned about the importance of active involvement of the Republic of Moldova within international cooperation programs on strategic communication, developed by actors such as the EU, NATO etc. At the same time, it was highlighted the significance of taking the best practices in counteracting the propaganda and hybrid threats. To this it must strengthen the capacity buildings of state institutions, mass media, civil society, to develop internal cooperation between all relevant actors. In the context, the representative of the Ministry of Defense pointed out that in order to counter the phenomenon of hybrid threats it is necessary to increase the cyber defense capacity, as well as communication with the civil society. A method of combating this phenomenon it was also highlighted by the Intelligence Service representative, in particular, the creation of an analytical-information center specialized on hybrid threats.

Representatives of media organizations mentioned some challenges related to countering false news, media literacy among citizens, mainstream media consumers, and reinforcing cooperation between public institutions and the media to streamline this fight against hybrid threats.

At the end of the conference, experts and participants come up with recommendations on this issue discussed which will be published later.