Regarding information literacy, Lithuanian residents are weak on average and are surpassed by both Estonian and Latvian residents. This means that we are unable to distinguish fake news from reliable and verified information and are prone to various manipulations. These tendencies were revealed in Media Literacy Index produced by our colleagues from the Open Society Institute Sofia in Bulgaria, which evaluated 47 countries.
This index helps assess society’s resilience to fake news and information manipulations. When creating the index, indicators such as media freedom, public education, and mutual trust are evaluated, as published by organizations such as EUROSTAT, the EBU, Reporters Without Borders, and others.
Lithuania scored 54 points on the media literacy index and ranked 20th out of 41 countries. Lithuania is surpassed by both Latvia (55 points, 18th position) and Estonia (71 points, 4th position). Estonia ranks in the top five along with other Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark). The countries with the lowest level of information literacy are Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Georgia.
What trends did the Open Society Institute in Sofia observe?
- The better the education level of the residents (based on PISA indicators) and the greater the media freedom, the higher the resistance of the residents to false and fabricated information.
- There are no countries with low education and high media freedom levels.
- Some countries with relatively good education levels but low media freedom are more strongly influenced by disinformation. Among them are Poland and Hungary.
What could we do to increase information resilience?
- In Finland, the fight against disinformation starts in kindergarten: the foundations of information literacy are acquired at an early age.
- The principles of information or media literacy are integrated into school curricula.
- Independent, strong, and analytical media.
This Information Literacy Index was announced during the international conference “The Role of Civil Society in Countering Disinformation and Promoting Media Literacy” held in Sofia in June 2023. The conference was funded by the Active Citizens Fund through the EEA and Norway Grants financial mechanism.