As regards to the implementation of the CLASS project, executed with the financial support provided by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA's financial mechanism, we share the Media Literacy Index ranking for 2021.

Bulgaria is last in the European Union in the 2021 ranking of the Media Literacy Index. The country ranks 30th in the category of 35 European countries and is placed in the same group as Greece (27th place), Romania (28th place), Serbia (29th place), Turkey (31st place) and Montenegro (32nd place).

These are the findings of the new edition of the Media Literacy Index for 2021, prepared by the European Policy Initiative (EuPI) of the Open Society Institute - Sofia. The index assesses the potential resilience to the spread of fake news in 35 European countries, using indicators of media freedom, education and interpersonal trust. The index has been conducted since 2017.

Bulgaria's poor performance in the index is due to low reading literacy scores in PISA surveys, poor media freedom ratings in Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders’ international rankings, and low levels of trust among people. The country achieves relatively better performance regarding the indicators of the share of population with higher education and the e-participation of citizens in the governance.

Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Sweden and Ireland are at the top of the 2021 rankings. These countries have the highest potential to cope with the negative effects of fake news and misinformation in Europe due to the high levels of quality of education, media freedom and trust between people. The last places in the ranking are taken by Northern Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania. These countries have low potential to deal with the effects of fake news and misinformation due to weaknesses in media freedom and the quality of education.

The 2021 edition of the Media Literacy Index came during a double crisis, when the COVID-19 pandemic was further worsening by the "infodemia" - a flood of fake news and misinformation about the infection and the process of dealing with it. Marin Lessenski, author of the study, shares that "the infodemia creates a crisis of confidence that undermines faith in medical and scientific knowledge, as well as faith in the institutions responsible for managing the response to the growing global crisis - health, social and economic".

For another year, the study recommends education as the best approach to dealing with fake news and emphasizes that tackling disinformation would reduce the degree of political and social confrontation, increase the level of trust in societies and contribute to a healthier environment (figuratively and literally) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You may find more about the research here: https://osis.bg/?p=3749

The CLASS project is implemented with the financial support of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA's financial mechanism. The aim of the project is to encourage the media literacy and civic education.

The entire responsibility for the content of this article is held by the European Institute Foundation and under no circumstances can it be assumed that it reflects the official opinion of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Bulgarian Operator of the Active Citizens Fund.

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