DML Government Actions: Romania
The shared document lists 11 most notable actions or decisions by Romanian government over the past 5 years to respond to disinformation, with express focus on digital media literacy and empowering users, and these are listed under the tab, "2-DML Government Actions". These include government-implemented programs such as 'Youngsters' Safety on Internet' and 'No Hate Speech' and also a report presented before EU on disinformation and a collaborative effort pioneered by Romania involving the member states of European Union.
The 11 identified actions are briefly detailed below:
#1 Youngsters' Safety on Internet
- The Romanian Ministry of Education in association with Microsoft Partners for Education program, Save the Children, the General Police Inspectorate and the Romanian Center for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children (Focus Center), has translated and adapted the 'Youngsters' Safety on Internet' program, an online digital media literacy service. This program is a guide to proper and safe internet usage. The training is given through comics that depict real-life actions.
- Through this training program, primary school students, secondary school students, teachers, parents, and legal guardians can learn about how to ensure their or their children's safety while using Internet. This program is approved by the Romanian Ministry of Education as an authorized educational resource for schools.
#2 No Hate Speech
- To create awareness about the risks arising from new digital media, Romania promoted 'No Hate Speech' campaign. This project teaches the young people about the "negative effects" of spreading hatred in the online environment. The project also aims at reducing online hate campaigns. The project is funded by Romania's EEA Grants- NGO Fund.
#3 National Strategy for the Romanian Digital Agenda
- Romania adopted its national policy on digital media titled, National Strategy for the Romanian Digital Agenda 2020, in February 2015. The strategy aims at enabling at least 35% of the population to use e-government systems by 2020. It also envisages at least 60% of the population using internet on a regular basis by 2020.
#4 The Trust Initiative
- The government of Romania is organizing debates on digital media disinformation bringing together European Union "Member States to share national best practices and solutions and to contribute to concrete
European initiatives and actions" to re-establish trust in digital media among the Romanian public.
#5 Romanian Presidency Report on Disinformation
- The Romanian Presidency published a report on the prevalence and the challenge of disinformation faced by European Union member states. The report scrutinized the
commitments followed by Romanian online platforms with respect to the self-disciplinary Code of Practice on
#6 General Data Protection Rights (GDPR)
- Romania implemented General Data Protection Rights (GDPR) in 2018. This regulation protects the privacy of citizens and their right to know how their data is being used by third parties. However, GDPR is often misused to stifle authentic journalism.
#7 Using GDPR Against Alleged Disinformation
- Based on the GDPR framework, the Romanian government acted against a digital journalism startup that published news about a scandal involving high profile politicians. The government asked the company to divulge information about their sources.
#8 YouTube Live
- Romanian government has a YouTube channel that regularly publishes videos on government functioning and activities and reaches out to the public through this digital media platform.
- Romanian government has a Facebook page that is regularly updated with governance-related news and information and reaches out to the public through this digital media platform.
#10 The Romanian National Defense Strategy
- The Romanian National Defense Strategy (2015-2019) points out that Russia has become a threat to the security of Romania and Europe and that the misinformation campaigns that Russia carries out against Romania has developed into a national security problem.
#11 The Romanian Presidency's Policy Against Misinformation
Your research team carried out a direct internet search of Romania-focused digital media research reports, news items, and official website posts of the different departments of the government of Romania, on and related to digital media literacy and disinformation. Many of these sources, including the reports published by different government departments of Romania such as the Romanian Agency for Digital Agenda and Ministry of Communication and Information Society provided the details of some notable actions by the Romanian government to tackle misinformation and promote digital media literacy. However, your research team still fell short of finding 15 such notable actions. As an alternative research strategy, your team looked into European Union reports on digital media literacy and fake news but such reports available online had only very basic and often outdated information on Romania. Though the official social media pages of the government of Romania have a broad focus on digital media literacy among the public, your team could not locate any specific action undertaken by the government towards the same goal via social media. There is also no information available on the government level digital media literacy initiatives in Romania focused at a specific demographic group other than the young people's internet safety program listed above. What your research team could conclude from the available facts is that though Romania faces a huge threat of fake news and misinformation, the government action on this front is still very rudimentary.