BIRN Kosovo Hosts Debate on Fake News and Misinformation in Health

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Over 20 pupils of Haxhi Zeka Gymnasium in Istog took part in a debate organized by BIRN Kosovo on “Impact of fake news and misinformation on health”.

The activity kicked off with the screening of an educative reportage, “Misinformation in Health”, and continued with the presentation and discussion of the panel.

This was composed by Kreshnik Gashi, member of the Kosovo Press Council and correspondent of Reporters without Borders for Kosovo and managing editor of; Adnora Nurboja, Director of Regional Centre of Public Health in Peja Municipality; and Visar Prebreza, Managing Editor at

The panelists discussed the danger of fake news and disinformation in advertising inaccurate information related to health concerns, whether it is advice to take certain medications, proclaiming that they heal certain illness, or to take different teas or medications for weight loss.

The panelists recalled that the distribution of false and unverified information on health was worst during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such “information” raised fear, confusion and doubts about official advice on how to treat COVID-19.

But this trend of spreading fake news in the field of health continues today, panelists said, and is present in the giving out of medications without a doctor’s prescription, but following the preferences of the pharmaceutical industry, which is not only harmful to health but also illegal.

The debate concluded by advising the young audience to be careful about getting their information on various topics, with particular emphasis on health.

Young people were told how to evaluate the information they have access to. They should seek try to understand who the authors of news are and what interest they have in sharing the news. They should research in depth to understand which sources the writing is referring to, and whether they are true or fictitious.

The youngsters participating in this debate expressed great interest in the topic and were active in the discussion, sharing their personal  experiences on finding fake news in health-related articles.

This activity was carried out within the UNMIK-supported project, “Addressing disinformation through fact-checking journalism”.