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Common sense wanted: Media Literacy Index 2018


30.03.2018

The Northwestern European countries have the highest potential for resilience to the impact of fake news due to the quality of education, free media and high trust among people. At the other extreme are the Balkan countries, which would be more vulnerable to the negative influence of fake news and the "post-truth" phenomenon mainly because of controlled media, deficiencies in education and the low level of trust among people.

These are the findings of a new edition of the Media Literacy Index by the European Policies Initiative (EuPI) of the Open Society Institute – Sofia. The index assesses the resilience potential to fake news in 35 European countries, using indicators for media freedom, education and trust in people. As the indicators have different importance, they are assigned different weight in the model. The media freedom indicators have the highest weight (Freedom House and Reporters without Borders) along with the educationindicators (PISA) with reading literacy having the highest share among them. The e-participation indicator (UN) and trust in people (Eurostat) have smaller weight relative to the other indicators.

According to the Index 2018 findings, the countries which are better equipped to deal with the impact of post-truth and fake news are the countries from Northwestern Europe – the Scandinavian states as well as the Netherlands, Estonia and Ireland. This coincides with the conclusions of other surveys and experts opinions, which single out these countries in regard to their capacity to tackle fake news. The countries with the lowest results are in Southeastern Europe – from Croatia to Turkey – along with their immediate neighbors Hungary and Cyprus. As a rule, the reasons for these results are the poor or mediocre performance in education as well as the controlled (not free) media. Such countries are most likely to be vulnerable to fake news and the ensuing negative effects.

The cluster analysis of data for 2018 shows differentiation of five groups of countries with similar characteristics. The countries in the better performing clusters are in the Northern and Northwestern part of Europe and on the other side of the map and the ranking are the countries in Southeastern Europe with one middle, transitional cluster, encompassing countries such as Hungary, Italy and Greece.
Macedonia and Turkey occupy the last two positions in the ranking. Estonia has the best performance among the new member states and is 5th by overall result. Estonia’s result is due mainly to very high scores in both education and media freedom. Poland registers the biggest drop compared to last year, down by three positions, due mainly to deterioration of its media freedom score.

According to the author of the report Marin Lessenski, there are different approaches in dealing with fake news and post-truth, regulation being one of them. But while some regulation is necessary, education seems to be the best all-round solution to fake news and the post-truth phenomenon with fewer drawbacks and more possibilities to tailor it to different situations. It has fewer side effects and more opportunities for adaptation to different situations. The results of the Media Literacy Index indicate that high quality education and having more and more educated people is a prerequisite for tackling the negative effects of fake news and post-truth.In addition, there seems to be correlation between quality of education and media freedom when the two indicators inn the index are compared. Countries with better education tend to have more media freedom and vice versa. While the index cannot single out cause and effect, the very observation of a relationship is indicative.

The Media Literacy Index 2018 was made possible thanks to the support provided by Global Affairs Canada.

You can download the report Common sense wanted in English here 

You can download the report Common sense wanted in Bulgarian here 

Projects
In Focus
1 million Bulgarians live in other EU countries. As European citizens, they have the right to vote and to be elected in the European Parliament elections in any other EU country.The “Vote Abroad” campaign is aimed at informing the Bulgarian citizens living abroad or in Bulgaria about the European Parliament elections (22 to 25 May 2014) on when, where and how to vote.
There is more information and updates on the interactive web-site and social media:
http://BulgariaIn.EU
https://www.facebook.com/BulgariaIn.EU
https://twitter.com/BulgariaInEU
Is Europe becoming a less cultural continent? The findings of a new Eurobarometer survey on cultural access and participation – the first on the topic since 2007 – suggest this may be the case.Although there are marked differences between Member States, in general fewer Europeans are engaging in cultural activities, as performers or spectators. The decline in participation has affected all cultural activities except cinema.
Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union at midnight Sunday (1 July), a decade after it started the process and less than 20 years after the end of its war of independence from Yugoslavia. The expansion comes at a difficult time for both the EU and Croatia (Photo: MLKR) Thousands lined the streets of the capital Zagreb to the sound of Beethoven's Ode to Joy and fireworks as the country's leaders accompanied by EU officials celebrated the event. Read it at EUObserver
Civic protests against the appointment of a controversial tycoon as head of Bulgaria’s major security agency started on June 14, 2013. A number of NGOs, OSI-Sofia among them, requested the government to revoke its decision and abide to the lawful procedures. The protests continued in defiance to the oligarchic control in the country, despite desperate measures by the government and the parties that support it.
The Guardian published an article by Ivan Krastev on January 16, 2013 about the alleged threat of Bulgarians and Romanians. Ivan Krastev debunks the myths by using OSI-Sofia study on migration, saying "There is no data suggesting that Bulgarian benefit tourists are coming to flood Britain, nor is there an indication that the Bulgarian government or media are trying to export their social problems by encouraging the poorest groups in Bulgarian society to take the plane to London.”
An article about Bulgaria in the print edition of the Economist quoted a study by OSI-Sofia on public attitudes. The article “In a rough region” from July 7, 2012 edition, with the subtitle “Once Bulgaria hoped to be like Greece; now it just hopes to survive” covers the state of Bulgaria’s economy, politics and society in mid-2012. You can read
the article here
EuPI’s Marin Lessenski was featured in Financial Times Deutchland in an article about the effects of the Greek crisis on the Balkan countries. The article “Osteuropa zittert vor der Drachme” by Hubert Beyerle, published on 01.06.2012 is available here.
The op-ed “Defining threats beyond the eurozone crisis” features the Catch-Up Index on Euractiv "Europe's economic and financial challenges are not the ultimate or even the defining threat to the European project, says Marin Lessenski, author of a new report published by the European Policies Initiative and Open Society Institute in Sofia." You can read the full op-ed in the Euractiv "Opinion" section here
As Bulgaria and Romania are looking to resolving the impasse to their Schengen membership bid in 2011, an EuPI policy brief released in June illuminates the broader context and challenges to Schengen transformation and enlargement. The brief sheds a light on the facts and common (mis)conceptions about Schengen’s accession of the two new EU members. The brief also touches upon the changes in the thinking and policy planning in the EU following the critical transformations in its southern neighborhood. You can download the policy brief here  
"Challenges to the New Programming of EU funds in Bulgaria after 2013 Based on the Analysis of the Experience in 2007 to 2013"   is a new report by the European Policies and Civic Participation program of OSI-Sofia.
Publications
imageThe publication contains the findings of the new edition of the Catch-Up Index. The index measures and ranks the performance of 35 countries –EU member states, candidate and potential candidate countries across four categories: Economy, Quality of Life, Democracy and Governance, using 47 indicators. There are five editions of the index since 2011, which provides the opportunity to identify trends and patterns in the process of development of individual countries, groups of countries and categories of the index.
The index is created and maintained by the OpenSociety Institute – Sofia and is available at
www.TheCatchUpIndex.eu .
The report “The Gravity Effect: Findings of the European Catch-Up Index 2014” (Index 2014), presents the findings of the fourth edition of the European Catch-Up index, which measures and ranks the performance of 35 countries –EU member states, candidate and potential candidate countries across four categories: Economy, Quality of Life, Democracy and Governance, using 47 indicators, with scores from 100-0 (highest to lowest) and rankings from 1-35 (highest to lowest).
The report “It’s a Process: Findings of the European Catch-Up Index” (Index 2013), presents the findings of the third edition of the European Catch-Up index, which measures and ranks the performance of 35 countries –EU member states, candidate and potential candidate countries across four categories: Economy, Quality of Life, Democracy and Governance, using 47 indicators, with scores from 100-0 (highest to lowest) and rankings from 1-35 (highest to lowest).
The report “Aftershocks: What Did the Crisis Do to Europe?” (Index 2012), presents the findings of the second edition of the European Catch-Up index, which measures and ranks the performance of 35 countries –EU member states, candidate and potential candidate countries across four categories: Economy, Quality of Life, Democracy and Governance, using 47 indicators, with scores from 100-0 (highest to lowest) and rankings from 1-35 (highest to lowest).
The European Catch-Up Index The new European Catch-Up Index redefines the current notions about the state of the EU, Europe and the economic crisis by analyzing the performance of 35 countries in Economy, Democracy, Governance and Quality of Life.
A series of monitoring reports on the progress of Bulgaria and Romania’s accession to join Schengen were prepared and released in October 2010 and February 2011 in cooperation with the Romanian Center for European Policies (CRPE).
23.07.2009

“The Unfinished Business of the Fifth Enlargement Countries” analyzes the problems faced by the ten new member states after their accession to the EU in eleven policy areas including political development, the economy, the healthcare system and education.
EuPI has released a series of reports within the project "The EU New Member States as Agenda Setters in the Enlarged European Union", with the "Not Your Grandfather’s Eastern Bloc" comparative policy report.
EuPI has contributed to a major report on EU-Russia relations by ECFR's Mark Leonard and Nicu Popescu

2008 European Policies Initiative

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