Under the SIMML programme IREX Europe has trained 113 Moldovan librarians who’ve gone on to train 2.823 members of their local community in media literacy in four years, as part of an effort to increase critical thinking among the Moldovan population, and to build local resistance to disinformation and fake news.

Media Literacy (ML) expert Nicoleta Fotiade presented a study of the librarians work and impact at the 2nd International Media Literacy Research Symposium in Lisbon, Portugal, on April 19. Fotiade’s presentation “Media Literacy Education in Alternative Spaces: Moldovan Librarians as Media Education Facilitators” highlighted the benefits of IREX Europe’s SIMML project, giving media literacy skills to local librarians so that they can go on and raise media literacy skills in the general population.

The librarians have run Media literacy activities and workshops for youth, as well as for parents and the general population, increasing their understanding of news and media manipulation as well as the risks of online media and how to minimise them.

Fotiade highlighted the rapid progress in the librarians’ ability to understand and evaluate news and information critically, and how their own personal views and approach to information changed through their training.

Fotiade recommended further field research to assess the impact of the media literacy training for librarians, as well as continued support for more training for librarians to cover more areas and ensure continuity.

Nicoleta Fotiade is a Media Literacy educator at the Romanian society Mediawise and also worked as one of the “trainers of trainers” under IREX Europe’s “Strengthening Independent Media and Media Literacy in Moldova” (SIMML), funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL).