USAID and Government of the Republic of Macedonia Host a Forum on Combating Disinformation

USAID General Development Office Director Edward Gonzalez and Mayor of Veles Municipality Ace Kocevski delivered opening remarks
USAID General Development Office Director Edward Gonzalez and Mayor of Veles Municipality Ace Kocevski delivered opening remarks

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

On June 19, 2018 in the Municipality of Veles, USAID’s Civic Engagement Project (CEP) organized its third policy discussion on combating disinformation. Eighty representatives from civil society organizations, media, journalists, local and central government institutions, academia, international organizations, and youth participated, sharing their opinions, ideas and recommendations to develop a coordinated approach to countering disinformation.

USAID General Development Office Director Edward Gonzalez, Minister without Portfolio in the Government of the Republic of Macedonia in charge of Communications, Accountability, and Transparency Robert Popovski, and Mayor of Veles Municipality Ace Kocevski delivered opening remarks. Representatives from various sectors – civil society organizations, government, Parliament, and media presented different cases, steps and concrete plans to combat disinformation and develop long-term solutions.

In his remarks, Mr. Gonzalez said, “Macedonia is living through historical moments and taking steps every day that bring it closer to NATO and the EU. Now, more than ever, it is critical for Macedonians to be vigilant and fight against disinformation efforts in order to make sure that the country continues moving forward in the best way possible.” Emphasizing the difference between partisan views and perspectives, disinformation, and hate speech, he added, “Political parties in government need to be especially cautious not to label opposing political ideas and opinions as fake news, because there is a difference between an opinion that you don’t agree with and fake news.”

“The expansion of fake news is a serious challenge on a global scale. I strongly believe that through cooperation between institutions, media and the civil sector, and through exchange of international experiences with a constructive contribution of political actors, we will establish efficient mechanisms through which the citizens will get a real opportunity for factual information. This is an essential goal for all of us - in politics, civil society sector and in the media,” said Minister Popovski.

In addition to the Veles event, from June 18-20, Youth Educational Forum is conducting a three-day workshop on understanding, recognizing and dealing with disinformation for a group of fifteen young people from Veles, after which participants will produce short videos for online distribution to raise awareness about disinformation and  its impact.

Both events – the policy forum and the workshop – are part of the CEP’s Annual CSO Week 2018 that includes a total of 20 events organized across Macedonia (Skopje, Gostivar, Prilep, Radovish, Struga, Shtip, Delchevo, and Strumica) by CEP grantees and other CSOs.

USAID’s CEP is a five-year project that aims to enhance the capacity of CSOs and youth groups to advance public policies, improve public services, promote good governance, and contribute to improving the standard of living in Macedonia. For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/CEPMacedonia/.

NOTE TO EDITORS:  The American people, through USAID, have invested more than $640 million in Macedonia since 1993. USAID is working with the people of Macedonia to create jobs, strengthen democratic institutions and practices, enhance integrated education, and prepare students for the workforce. These initiatives, in partnership with the people of Macedonia, aim to improve the quality of life for all living in Macedonia. USAID provides economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries. For more information please visit http://macedonia.usaid.gov and USAID’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/USAIDMacedonia.

Last updated: June 20, 2019

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