A new report by the Center for European Policy Analysis highlights IREX’s innovative approach to helping citizens detect and decode misinformation in Ukraine.
The report synthesizes dozens of case studies to analyze Russian disinformation campaigns, which pose an increasing threat to the United States and European allies. The authors offer recommendations for strengthening media in democracies and educating media consumers.
“The concept of media literacy has long been seen as synonymous with education,” Edward Lucas and Peter Pomerantsev write in the report, “but what media literacy education means is changing: it is moving out of the classroom and into communities.”
In Ukraine, they continue, IREX has “broken new ground in stepping outside the education system to promote media literacy.”
The report describes IREX’s implementation of the Citizen Media Literacy Project – Ukraine. This nine-month project taught 440 “trainers” in central and eastern Ukraine to evaluate the trustworthiness of media sources. Then trainers conducted their own training sessions and consultations with more than 15,000 citizens.
In contrast to traditional approaches, IREX’s “Learn to Discern” approach was designed to be both fun and practical for any audience, not just for those with a college degree. “We basically tried to get away from anything academic,” said Myahriban Karyagdyyeva, IREX’s director of programs in Ukraine. For example, trainers received videos, games, cards, stickers, and other props that made concepts more concrete and engaging.
Trainers reached a wide variety of groups, including students, teachers, university and continuing education instructors, librarians, activists, NGO representatives, union members, military soldiers and officers, veterans, engineers, entrepreneurs, psychologists, local and regional public servants, lawyers, senior citizens, health workers, internally displaced persons, and LGBTI community members.
The project also conducted a media literacy campaign that reached approximately 20 million TV viewers, 8 million radio listeners, 10,000 YouTube users, and countless Metro riders.