Educational campaign on fake news as support for youth in building critical thinking

The workshops with youth from the Serbian, Roma, and Bosniak communities were held in various locations across Kosovo. Discussions with youth in Gračanica, Laplje Selo, Štrpce, Gornje Kusce, Vitomirica, and Gorazdevac covered topics such as fake news and its negative impact on society, peer violence, gender equality, and interethnic tolerance.

Isidora Stojanović, one of the participants from Laplje Selo, stated that the workshop was very important and educational for her. “The lecture was very informative. I was already familiar with the concept of fake news, but I further expanded my knowledge about it. What was important to me is that the lectures were not dry; they were very interesting and kept my attention,” Isidora said.

Another segment of this project is the website where additional information can be found, including quizzes. After completing these quizzes, participants receive a training certificate. “The website is also very interesting and useful. It covers everything we talked about, mentioned, and learned in the lectures. I was happy to participate in everything,” added Isidora.

Both boys and girls attended the lectures, although there was a larger presence of young women. They particularly emphasized the significance and usefulness of this kind of awareness about the widespread issue of fake news.

At the lecture on fake news, we learned about the importance of understanding and critically examining information from the media. It was emphasized how important it is to distinguish reliable sources of information from unverified or false information, as well as how to recognize manipulation in the media. In short, the impressions from the lecture are positive and inspiring; they opened up new perspectives and thoughts about media content,” said Ivona Kolašinac from Gorazdevac.

Participants in Vitomirica were especially pleased with the use of video material that further explained the dangers posed by deep-fake technology. “I really liked the lecture; it was well organized and planned. It was interesting that we visually saw a video as an example of deep fake, and we learned more about fake news than we thought was necessary. Additionally, the website provided us with a lot of new knowledge,” shared Darija Bibuljica from Vitomirica near Peć after the lecture.

Participants were very active during the lectures and wanted to learn more about this topic by engaging in the lecture, asking questions, or sharing personal experiences. It is particularly interesting that most of the youth are especially interested in the topic of peer violence, indicating a need for greater engagement in this area. Also, the legal aspects discussed during the lecture, including possible criminal offenses, were particularly intriguing, as many young people do not recognize what can be considered a criminal act, especially on social media and the internet in general.

The lecture was supported by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK.