Many years ago when I first started using the Internet, probably in the late nineties, I was simply amazed by the virtually endless information I had access to. I couldn’t stop reading. I read everything I would come across. And as if that wasn’t enough, I often printed everything I saw on the monitor – so that I have it just in case. Suddenly, I didn’t have to go to the library to look for something, I didn’t have to borrow and buy anything. Everything was within my reach. I was insatiable, I thought that the time had come for me to know all the truths. Sometimes I even had a feeling of guilt that “I’m asking too much of Google”.

Although I was brought up not to believe everything I read, I must admit that sometimes the challenge was overwhelming. After so many hours spent on the internet I just couldn’t distinguish which are the relevant sources of information, what is true and what is fiction. I was often very confused, worried and disappointed. Back then I justified my confusion with my modest experience and ignorance. Today, after all this time, experience, diplomas and accumulated knowledge, I still have to admit that nothing has changed in this field, and what I’ve experienced now has a name and it’s called technostress.

Proper sharing of information over the internet is undoubtedly beneficial to all of us as individuals, but also as a civilization. The simplicity of posting information makes it a possible for them to be abused. Anyone can invent stories that often look identical to those of modern journalism. Very often they are designed to seem to benefit us and certainly distract us. Such content easily awakens the reader’s curiosity. Reality limits the amount of true stories, but our imagination can be unlimited.

We get the impression that fake news, alternative “facts” and disinformation are becoming more and more present in the public discourse. I do not know if this is so because we are now aware of their existence and use, or we are just alarmed and disturbed by their power. Fake news is becoming a very present, popular and dangerous at the same time. Although recently they are very popular, fake news is not a new phenomenon, there is evidence that fake news has been affecting stock markets since 1803. Entire industries in the past have arisen on the basis of fake news. However, in today’s socio-economic conditions and in combination with the use of advanced technology, their impact is enormous.

The general impression is that we have become a society in which success is measured by the number of likes, clicks, and shares. This is an excellent basis for the emergence of this news. The formula is simple: a sensational, scandalous headline, plus fake information, equals profit. The use of fake news is becoming popular both commercially and politically. It is very easy to create and share the fake news, and it is very difficult to identify it as such. The creators of fake news, unlike professionals, simply do not have to research or make arguments, so they easily produce fake news. On the one hand, that allows an enormous production that grasps the true information, and on the other it can be endlessly repeated even when arguably contested.

The development of democracy and the improvement of the quality of life through the application and dissemination of knowledge is fundamentally endangered by this new type of weapon – the fake news. Of course, freedom of expression and the media are indispensable for the democracy, but in order for the democracy to be sustainable and functional it is not just enough that the citizens are active and involved in the processes, but they must also be well informed. Only an appropriately informed individual can make quality knowledge-based decisions. The uninformed or misinformed public cannot make reasonable decisions, participate in the social life, and have control over the government.

Fake news will not only deceive us, but undermine our confidence in legitimate and relevant news sources. There are countless portals without redaction, articles without an author. These “media” give us the wrong perception of “media pluralism”, and do not function on the principles of journalism. They have taken a huge step forward to be as readable as possible with readers, with a flow of information, but in most cases they remain far from the basic principles of modern journalism.

Freedom of expression consists of freedom of opinion and freedom of expression and has certain limitations (for example hate speech, insult). Human rights and freedoms have a clear boundary – the rights and freedoms of the other. Freedom of speech also encompasses the culture of speech, ie protecting the basic human values. In that direction, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which contains the freedom of expression, states: The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary. So, human rights are neither absolute nor uncontrollable, on the contrary, the situation is reversed. But here the biggest problem arises, to what extent are the restrictions and controls necessary in a democratic society, whether they are aimed at protecting the rights of others or have a different purpose.

To be continued…


Luan Imeri, MSc




This project was funded in part through a U.S. Embassy grant. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the implementers/authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Government.


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