As the guest speaker, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Mr. Gökhan Yazgı, stated that the media is now not only a source of news but also a tool for creating impact on and imposing transformation over societies. He pointed out that this transformation today brought about new challenges and responsibilities along with it, and explained that one of the most striking of them is disinformation that has become so far as one of the biggest threats for the media and societies all over the world.
Mentioning that BRAF's meeting is important in this field, Yazgı said: “The impact of disinformation poses a major threat not only for those who consume news and information, but also for the well-being of society, democratic processes, and cultural values. Therefore, fighting against disinformation and enforcing digital media literacy has become the responsibility of all of us. In this workshop, important evaluations will be made as regards to the practices exerted so far to prevent disinformation, and the necessary actions that should be taken to improve the cooperation between media organizations and regulatory authorities, and the methods to be used to create a more reliable media environment.”
The Deputy Minister Yazgı emphasised that the regulatory authorities would discuss about the media literacy and how it could be put into usage more effectively to cope with the challenges of the digital age. He added that this workshop had a vital importance to understand the developments in the media field, solve arising problems and ensure the collaboration among the authorities.
The Governor of Antalya Mr. Hulusi Şahin stated also the importance of sharing experience in a mutual basis and added that we are going through in such a period in which digital literacy is needed more and more and disinformation challenges everyone on earth. Pointing out the importance of the topics in discussion during the workshop, Governor Şahin said; "I believe that important results will be achieved and suggestions for the solutions will be put forward, from which we will also be able to benefit."
BRAF Secretary General Ms. Deniz Güçer also extended her thanks to those who participated in the program and stated that the important issues would be discussed in the workshop.
"Disinformation and Digital Media Literacy Workshop" was held within the scope of the BRAF 10th Annual Meeting;
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, RTÜK Member and BRAF Secretary General Ms. Deniz Güçer reminded that BRAF was established in 2008 by the member countries of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC). Ms. Güçer explained that annual meetings were organized since 2009, however, after the previous meeting in Romania in 2018, the studies were interrupted due to the Covid epidemic.
Stating that they attach great importance to this year's meeting in order to speed up the work, Ms. Güçer continued as follows: "We will discuss the issue of disinformation, which has become a common problem of the world, and talk over the issue of digital literacy, which we believe that everyone, especially the children, should be taught. The word disinformation is defined in the dictionary as 'dissemination of false information'. Unfortunately, media has become the epicentre of disinformation. As RTÜK, we approach to the issue of disinformation in audio visual media, intently and meticulously.
As a result of diversification and digitalization of media channels, we see that false statements, fabricated news, disinformation and misinformation are spreading rapidly. It is also a fact that the speed of the dissemination of false or fake news is much higher than the circulation of true information. Disinformation has now become a matter of national security for some countries. It has even gone beyond and turned into a matter of global security. Our mutual mission must be eliminating all kinds of fake news and disinformation. But, this cannot be accomplished alone neither by an institution or an individual.”
Emphasizing that the fight against disinformation can only be possible through creating a common sense and the institutions, technology companies, non-governmental organizations, scientists, media institutions and journalists should come together. Ms. Güçer also pointed out that international cooperation is necessary for the collective actions. Ms. Güçer noted that, as a regulatory body RTÜK has redefined media literacy as digital literacy, and that everyone should gain "new media literacy skills" to the societies that they are responsible from.
Executive Manager in Black Sea Economic Cooperation Permanent International Secretariat Mr. Alexei Nistrean, pointed out that disinformation means information that is disseminated deliberately, aiming to mislead people, and said that international organizations such as UN and the Council of Europe are addressing the challenges posed by disinformation and the responses of the governments and non-governmental organizations.
Stating that the UN General Assembly expressed concerns about the increase in disinformation, Mr. Nistrean said: “Disinformation can disrupt the community, especially if it is supported by the governments, social classes or public representatives. It can lead to the propagation of hatred and encouragement of violence. In today's rapidly evolving digital world, information spreads instantly, reaching hundreds of thousands or millions of people across the countries and continents. This flow of information has a great impact on people and their behaviors.”
How are we going to fight disinformation and prevent its dissemination? How do we prevent people from influencing the attitudes of societies? The only solution is to ensure the right to access information and freedom of speech. The international duty of our governments is to protect these rights and maintain a living and pluralistic information area. It is important for governments to provide wide and free access to information to prevent this situation.”
In the workshop moderated by the President of AMA (Albania) Ms. Armela Krasniqi, Greece NCRTV Board Member Prof. Georgios Pleios, RTÜK Public Opinion, Broadcast Research and Measurement Department Head Mr. Deniz Güler, Serbia REM International Relations Coordinator Ms. Jelena Kolo Jovanovic and RTÜK President Advisor Ms. Melike Yiğit Bakır expressed their opinions and presented their studies regarding disinformation.
Besides BRAF Member Authorities, regulatory authority officials from Malaysia, TRNC, Kosovo and North Macedonia were present as guests in the workshop.
The 10th Annual Meeting of BRAF was conducted with the participation of BRAF Member Authorities;
First Deputy Secretary General of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Permanent International Secretariat (PERMIS) Madam Ambassador Dr. Merve Safa Kavakcı, who spoke at the last session of BRAF 10th Annual Meeting, underlined BRAF as a reliable, active partner of the BSEC.
Stating that the Forum plays a crucial role in promoting the objectives of BSEC, Kavakcı said, "This is particularly valid when it comes to fostering the exchange of information and experience in the broadcasting sector of the Black Sea region. In addition to promoting the cooperation among national regulatory authorities, BRAF continues to coordinate the work towards enhancing the right to communication, universal access to and the freedom of information regarding governance and matters of public interest in the BSEC region as stipulated in its funding documents.”
She emphasized that BSEC was launched as a regional initiative with the vision of promoting peace, stability, dialogue, and prosperity by means of economic cooperation, continued on to be the most comprehensive international platform around the Black Sea and BSEC would resume its role in promoting stability and prosperity among the Member States as well as encouraging and inspiring interaction and cooperation in the wider Black Sea region.
In the wake of the voting held after the presentation of the member authorities’ country reports regarding their previous year progresses, Azerbaijan was elected unanimously as the chair authority of the Black Sea Broadcasting Regulatory Authorities Forum (BRAF) in the term of year 2024.