IEP is delighted to start the second half of 2022 with two new projects: ConnectBY supports networking activities and work of Belarusian civil society in the diaspora. The reforMD project aims to strengthen resilience against disinformation in the Republic of Moldova.
ConnectBY – Belarusian civil society in diaspora
In August 2020, Belarus saw its largest protests since its independence. The falsification of the presidential elections and the brutal repression of the protesters triggered the creation of large number of civil society initiatives. However, the authorities succeeded in suppressing the democratisation movement with repressive measures. Numerous activists and representatives of civil society have since been forced to leave the country. Many of them settled in Germany and Ukraine in the last two years.
The Russian war of aggression on Ukraine and the resulting migration movement make it all the more important to support the Belarusian minority that settled in Ukraine before the war or are still there. Belarusians living abroad are currently exposed to great difficulties and threats: they are attacked as representatives of the co-aggressor President Lukashenka and his regime and suffer from the collateral damage of the sanctions imposed on Belarus by Western countries.
ConnectBY has the overall aim of strengthening cooperation between Belarusian diaspora activists and researchers in Germany and Ukraine in order to support the continuation of their work and the Belarusian democratic movement. The aim of the project is also to contribute to the creation of new networks between the different diaspora communities.
reforMD – Resilient against Disinformation in the Republic of Moldova
The Republic of Moldova is particularly vulnerable to disinformation campaigns due to its media and information landscape, which is segregated by language and population group. The country’s EU accession aspirations are making it a target of Russian disinformation. President Maia Sandu consequently sees the Republic of Moldova exposed to a Russian information war.
In addition to the Moldovan authorities, which have the task of improving the regulatory framework against disinformation, Moldovan civil society has an advisory and supportive role to play in building resilience against disinformation. Civil society support and dialogue with the government and parliament is needed to accompany these sensitive reforms. In addition to the audiovisual media, the poorly regulated social media and messenger services in particular pose a potential threat to social peace.
reforMD aims to strengthen resilience against disinformation through dialogue measures between civil society and political actors as well as capacity building at the local level. Media products such as videos, podcasts and TV debates, will be used to respond to disinformation campaigns concerning the policies of the EU and its member states. Civil society exchange on the issue with Germany and other member states will be promoted.