Department of Communication Sciences at "Bedër" University College organized a workshop on "Fake News, Media Problem or Democracy?"
The workshop was attended by the Ambassador of the OSCE Presence in Albania, Bernd Borchardt, Head of Department of Journalism and Communication at the University of Tirana, Prof.Assoc. Dr. Mark Marku, renowned analyst and journalist Lutfi Dervishi, Head of the Union of Journalists, Alexander Çipa, media scholar, representatives of PR offices and communication and journalism students.
The activity was opened by the Head of Communication Sciences Department, Dr. Erlis Çela, who said that the tradition of organizing the workshop is annual and aims to address coherent topics of importance to the media and communication field. Regarding the topic selection for this year, Dr. Çela said that "fake news", a term that got fame after the presidential election in America, is not just a phenomenon that is mentioned in the circles of journalists but is already a phenomenon that has attracted the attention of media and audience researchers.
Then the speech was received by the Rector of Bedër University College, Prof. dr. Dr. Ferdinand Gjana, who said that accessibility opportunities are increasingly being used by citizens to publish information on the Internet, where distribution in these networks may have different nuances, ranging from positive approaches such as social support for help in producing misleading content and prejudicial comments. According to him, organization of this format is important as they discuss ways of healthy development of free speech, starting with the critical role that media professionals have.
The Ambassador of the OSCE Presence in Albania, Bernd Borchardt said that the phenomenon of false news has existed since early, but with technological development, its impacts are more apparent. He said that people who are directly affected by this phenomenon suffer the most from the consequences, mentioning a personal case of how his name was part of the phenomenon of false news. As a solution, Mr. Borchard suggested verifying the facts before the news release, empowering the community of media professionals, media education and more media freedom.
Meanwhile, Lutfi Dervishi, stopped at the risk of "fake news". He said that attention should focus on "fake news" as an economic benefit system. Dervishi brought to attention the case of some young people from Macedonia who produced false news against Hillary Clinton in the recent presidential election in the United States, making financial gain. According to Mr. Dervishi, the solution should be sought to return to the traditional principles of journalism, paying attention to the fact-finding of journalists.
Media representatives and media commentators Mark Marku, head of the Department of Journalism and Communication at the University of Tirana, spoke about the need to review the principles of journalism. Professor Marku said that we should not judge a problematic phenomenon as "fake news" starting from the journalism rates of several decades ago. Fatos Hakorja, Roland Zili, Roland Qafoku, Pandi Gjata, Lazar Semini, who said that "fake news" poses a risk not only for the media but also for the essence of democracy. Media leaders and present journalists provided solutions to media education for audiences, control of news sources before publication, and a return to the deontological and professional values of journalism.
Representatives of public relations offices from various agencies and institutions, such as Eva Kushova and Elda Gjoka, said that in this phenomenon the individual is most vulnerable, as the media may have the ability to self-regulate and better manage the free speech.
Throughout the workshop, important discussions took place, which brought additional perspectives on the phenomenon of the fake news.