Tackling Disinformation: New report on media consumption in Central Asia

Peter M. Wagner, Head of the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) participated alongside Internews in the presentation of the report “Media consumption in Central Asia: patterns, trends, challenges, and perceptions of the war in Ukraine.”

The presentation took place on 28 March 2023 and was hosted by MEP Karsten Lucke. The report was developed by the European Neighbourhood Council and Internews within the EU-funded project on media consumption and disinformation in Central Asia “Resilience and Engagement with Varied Information for a Vibrant Environment” (REVIVE).

Peter M. Wagner drew attention to the global phenomenon of disinformation and to the European Commission’s comprehensive action plan to tackle it, including on social media. He noted that “The rising usage of social media combined with low levels of media literacy can propound the spread of disinformation, which, ultimately, is about undermining our democracies and our societies. We recognise the importance of tackling foreign interference and information manipulation and have reinforced our work through a comprehensive set of tools, like actions building the resilience of societies and media worldwide, new regulations such as sanctions against Russian disinformation outlets, and overall the support to situational awareness and analysis of incidents.”

The report’s findings highlight the impact of the Internet in transforming the media space in Central Asia, the vulnerability of all generations to disinformation, the role of Russia’s war on Ukraine in increasing the awareness on the disinformation threat, and the increasing importance of local Central Asian languages in media. It informs on the need for continued efforts to tackle disinformation and media literacy, taking into account regional trends, patterns, and perceptions.