The 21st century has provided technology that has made it easy to connect with friends on social media and access a wealth of information, but it also comes with a downside: numerous actors on sites spread disinformation. Thus, with Internet use comes a responsibility to educate oneself.

Recently, American Councils has been undertaking a global initiative to combat the detrimental effects of disinformation amongst adolescents. Inspired by this initiative, FLEX alumni in Romania organized a Media Literacy Workshop on October 27, 2019 at the local American Councils office in Bucharest. The event was also part of the Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2019 organized by UNESCO.

The workshop was integrated into the City Representative (CR) Training Conference, where the six newly selected CR’s from various areas of the country gathered in Bucharest to learn about the requirements of the position as well as project management, leadership, and team management. The Media Literacy workshop was open for the entire Romanian alumni community and four other alumni joined. =

The Media Literacy workshop was led by Ioana Avadani, CEO of the Center for Independent Journalism, a Romanian non-governmental organization that advocates for freedom of expression as a fundamental human right and for the development of a truthful, balanced and responsible environment in Romanian media. The training combined information about how news content is created, the seven types of mis- and disinformation and how to recognize them, how to fact check the sources, newsworthiness, and how to communicate with the people around us about the false content shared on social media platforms.

The workshop sparked questions and curiosities among the alumni. One of the questions was: “What can we do, as citizens, to combat this abuse and manipulation?” The answer was simple: education yourself and educate your community.  And as alumni, they hope to do just that.

Written by Irina Novac ’17