Seminar “Disinformation and new challenges for European security”

ISAC fund organized a seminar “Disinformation and new challenges for European security” at the Vila Breg Hotel in Vršac, from February 22 to 24, 2023. The seminar was intended for representatives of political parties, and was supported by the Embassy of Canada through the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives.

The seminar was opened by Nikola Petrović, director of the ISAC fund, who welcomed the participants and introduced them to the work of ISAC fund.

The first lecture was given by Jasna Jelisić, head of the group for the Western Balkans and the division for strategic communications at the European External Affairs Service. Connecting via the Zoom platform directly from Brussels, Jasna explained to the participants the differences between disinformation and misinformation. “Disinformation is verifiably false and deceptive information that is spread due to political or economic interest, while misinformation is false but not intentionally created,” emphasized Jasna. She also emphasized the great vulnerability and susceptibility of the Western Balkans to disinformation and false narratives. She introduced the participants to the work and reports of the Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all democratic processes in the European Union, including Disinformation (ING2).

The second lecture on February 23 was held by Slobodan Georgiev, director of Nova S news. During his presentation, Mr. Georgiev answered the questions of what fake news is, who creates it, what it actually serves for, and whether we can defend ourselves against it. Among other things, he pointed out that the media should check the full information before publishing it in order to avoid the spread of disinformation and fake news.

The next lecture that day was held by Nikola Petrović, director of the ISAC Fund, who introduced the participants to different types of disinformation, their global impact and how disinformation poses a threat to security in Serbia.

Dr. Igor Novaković, director of research at the ISAC fund, discussed with the participants about cyber security, challenges, threats and possibilities in this area. Dr. Novaković introduced the participants to cyber-attacks, the CIA triad, the three levels that cyber security affects (state, private sector and individual/citizen), cyber warfare and cyber security challenges. He emphasized 5 important rules that reduce the possibility of cyber-attacks, specifically: 1) regular backup of data, 2) updating of programs, 3) use of antivirus, 4) strong password and 5) “think before you click”. “There is nothing free on the Internet – our data is being sold,” emphasized Dr. Igor Novaković. The following day, Dr. Igor Novaković continued his lecture by presenting the Vulnerability Index to the participants, showing through statistical data how vulnerable the Central European region, Serbia and its surroundings are to disinformation.

The second lecture on February 24 was held by Dr. Milan Igrutinović, who introduced the participants to the history of Russian-Ukrainian relations, also referring to the spread of disinformation during the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and its negative consequences. The seminar “Disinformation and new challenges for European security” ended with a discussion of all participants about disinformation as a security challenge, moderated by Nikola Petrović, director of the ISAC fund.

Once again, we would like to thank all participants and lecturers for their great contribution and excellent cooperation!