Bulgarian-Romanian Observatory of Digital Media Launches Its Website Full of Fact-Checking and Media Literacy Resources
Sofia; May 9, 2023 - The Bulgarian-Romanian Observatory of Digital Media (BROD), operating under the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO), has announced the launch of its new website. The site, which is available in Bulgarian, Romanian, and English, will feature verified news, media literacy materials, and research on disinformation in the region. The content will be unique and developed by BROD's partners, including GLOBSEC, with references to important developments from other observatories operating under the European Commission. The launch is particularly timely as part of the region is increasingly moving towards an eastern foreign policy orientation, despite Russian aggression towards Ukraine since February 2022.
The conflict in Ukraine has unleashed a deluge of disinformation and propaganda in the region, exacerbating an already dire information landscape in Bulgaria and Romania. GLOBSEC Trends 2022 revealed that there are substantial vulnerabilities in both Bulgaria and Romania that could be exploited by hostile actors, particularly Russia. Alarmingly, nearly half of the population in both countries believe in conspiracy theories that seek to undermine democracy and the West. This trend is largely the result of malign pro-Russian influence campaigns that have been systematically targeting the hearts and minds of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens for years. In addition, the lack of media freedom and low levels of citizen media and information literacy further compound the situation, making the two countries highly vulnerable to disinformation campaigns, both from within and outside their borders.
To combat this issue, the Bulgarian-Romanian Observatory of Digital Media (BROD) aims to create a multinational, multi-stakeholder, and multidisciplinary regional hub for detecting, analyzing, and combating disinformation in Bulgaria and Romania. BROD brings together renowned researchers, media literacy providers, journalists, policy partners, and the biggest fact-checker worldwide, AFP, with its fact-checking operations in Bulgaria and Romania. It aims to be a regional hub for building on knowledge and research excellence in digital media and accelerating efforts to fight disinformation through national and regional fact-checking, media literacy, and policy measures to address short- and long-term challenges in this key EU region.
The website launched by BROD will provide a continuous feed of fact-check articles aimed at debunking information in Bulgarian and Romanian, as well as dozens of archives available at launch. The site will bring focused research reports on topics relevant to Bulgaria and Romania and a collection of older studies from its partners and other related reports. Within the domain of media and information literacy, the BROD website will gradually add resources for educating teachers, librarians, and journalists, which will be delivered in Bulgarian and Romanian languages. Where suitable and possible, BROD will also offer translations of useful materials from other observatories collaborating with EDMO. With BROD's new website, the fight against disinformation in Bulgaria and Romania takes a significant step forward.