The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) has given awards to several young journalists for their investigations focused on Russian propaganda.
The event was held in Chisinau as part of the “Propaganda in Public Discourse. How Do We Avoid It?” project implemented by the Independent Journalism Center between January and September 2017 with the financial support of the Baltic to Black Sea Alliance (BBSA).
The investigations were carried out following a complex training program focused on combating propaganda in the information space by means of investigative techniques, which was held by the IJC in April. Participants formed teams and identified topics for investigations, which they then worked on for four months. Students were guided and assisted by media expert Viorica Zaharia.
The first prize was given for the material produced by students Daria Rusu of the Moldova State University and Doinita Babalic of the Free International University of Moldova – “A Hotel in Chisinau Posted a Map Where the Baltic States Have Been Replaced with Russia” [„Un hotel din Chișinău a afișat o hartă pe care Țările Baltice au fost înlocuite cu Rusia”], which was published in the Ziarul de Gardă newspaper.
The second prize went to student Victoria Ciumac of the Moldova State University, who analyzed what the Broadcasting Coordinating Council does and does not do to combat propaganda. Her material, under the title of “The BCC Failed to Combat and Sanction Russian Propaganda” („CCA a eșuat în combaterea și sancționarea propagandei rusești”), can be found on the portal Unimedia.info.
The third material, posted on the portal moldova.org, concerns the mystery of Moldovan books sold on an American website without the author’s consent. Its author Ionela Costis, student of the Moldova State University, received an honorable mention for thorough work on this project.Present at the award ceremony, Sarmite Elerte, chair of the BBSA board, mentioned the need to expose propaganda and to have journalists actively involved in this process: “We understand how important it is to compare Russian propaganda in different countries. Russian propaganda often comes as a real fact based on half truth and mixed with false information. But the purpose of journalism is to diminish and stop this phenomenon, as much as possible, through investigative materials,” said Sarmite Elerte.
Viorica Zaharia, the mentor of the teams involved in the project, underlined that such projects for students are very few and that they deserve more attention, in order to give students the opportunity to get involved in and produce journalistic investigations already in their student days.
Daria Rusu, a participant in the project, says she has learned a lot of interesting things: what a journalist should do in crisis situations, where information can be collected when the possibility of information is limited. “I am glad that I had the opportunity to have this valuable experience. In the future, I hope to do even better investigations,” the student said.
“Through this project, I had the great opportunity to gain good experience in investigative journalism, the experience that we cannot get at university lectures. In addition, our material was published in a newspaper that is popular in Moldova,” mentioned Doinita Babalic.
The event is organized within the project "Propaganda Promoting Illiberal Discourse: Haw to Tackle it? „ implemented by the Independent Journalism Center, during January-September 2017, with the financial support of the Baltic to Blak Sea Alliance.
The article was originally published by Media Azi.