Manipulation of information and external influences in the focus of the study visit of journalists and civil activists in Brussels

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Journalists, editors and representatives of civil society organisations were part of the study visit to Brussels organised by the Delegation of the European Union in Skopje and the Macedonian Institute for Media in the period 20-23 March.

The study visit was designed as an interactive event to share experiences and knowledge regarding EU policies for tackling information manipulation and external influences - FIMI (Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference - FIMI), including disinformation regarding EU enlargement policies with a focus on the situation in North Macedonia and the negotiation process.

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During the visit, the participants had the opportunity to learn more about EU policies for tackling manipulation of information and external influences against different social groups and reform initiatives, during and before the upcoming elections, as well as the role of the media in tackling FIMI and disinformation.

The visit included working sessions with representatives of the European External Action Service, including the Western Balkans StratCom Working Group and Commission directorates (DG NEAR and CNECT).

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In conversations with representatives of the European Parliamentary Forum, journalists and representatives of civil society organisations learned more about the financiers of religious extremists against human rights related to sexuality and reproductive health in Europe.

During a visit to the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Ricardo Gutiérrez General Secretary presented the organisation’s work and the assistance they provide to journalists facing threats and pressures. At the meeting there was also a discussion about tackling disinformation in the media, as well as the role of ethical and professional journalism in the fight against this negative phenomenon.

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The journalists in Brussels also met with the EU Ambassador in North Macedonia, David Geer, who was informed about the course of the visit and the importance of such visits for journalists and representatives of the civil sector.