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The country inoculating against disinformation

BBC: “Subjected to repeated disinformation campaigns, the tiny Baltic country of Estonia sees media literacy education as part of its digital-first culture and national security. For two days riots raged in Estonia’s capital Tallinn. Protestors clashed with police and looters rampaged after the violence was sparked by controversy about a decision to move a military statue erected during Soviet rule. The flames of outrage among Estonia’s Russian-speaking minority were fanned by false news spreading online and in Russian news reports. The disinformation campaign then escalated into what is considered the first cyber-attack against an entire country. The attack, which was linked to Russia, shut down websites of Estonia’s government, banks and media outlets. In the aftermath of the attack in 2007, Estonia decided to take action. The country has now become a cyber-security leader, aimed at protecting its online infrastructure from future attacks. But the country has done something else in its attempt to protect itself from digital aggression – the tiny Baltic country is using media literacy education to help its citizens spot and be wary of disinformation. Since 2010 Estonian public schools – from kindergarten through to high school –  teach media literacy to their pupils. Students in 10th grade also take a mandatory 35-hour “media and influence” course. Media literacy education is now accepted “as important as maths or writing or reading”, says Siim Kumpas, former strategic communication adviser to Estonia’s government. He was recently appointed as a policy officer at the European External Action Service, the European Union’s diplomatic service…”

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