site.btaUPDATED Bulgaria Ranks Last in EU in Media Literacy Index
Bulgaria ranks last among EU countries in the Media Literacy Index for 2023, the Open Society Institute - Sofia Foundation said in a press release on Sunday.
The country takes the 35th place out of 41 ranked countries in Europe, which puts it among the nations most vulnerable to misinformation.
The index measures the potential vulnerability of societies to misinformation and related negative phenomena based on indicators of education quality, media freedom, trust in people and e-participation.
With a score of 31 points out of a maximum of 100, Bulgaria is still ahead of neighbouring Turkiye (36th place with 29 points) and the Republic of North Macedonia (39th place with 22 points), but behind Serbia (31st place with 33 points) and Romania (34th place with 32 points).
According to the cluster analysis, dividing the countries in the ranking by groups with similar characteristics, Bulgaria falls in the 4th to last cluster together with Serbia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Turkiye. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, the Republic of North Macedonia, Kosovo and Georgia are in the last 5th cluster, which includes the countries with the lowest scores.
Compared to the 2022 index, Bulgaria drops two places - from 33rd in 2022 to 35th in 2023, and loses 2 points - from 33 points in 2022 to 31 points in 2023. However, the country remains in the same 4th cluster out of five. Bulgaria performs worst in the indicators related to education and media freedom, and best in the indicators on new forms of civic participation.
The overall ranking of the new Media Literacy Index 2023 is headed by Finland, which is ranked 1st among 41 countries in Europe with 74 points out of a possible 100. It has remained a consistent leader in the six editions of the Index since 2017. Denmark takes the second position with 73 points, followed closely by Norway in third place with 72 points. Estonia and Sweden share 4th and 5th place respectively, with both countries scoring a perfect 71 points.
Georgia is at the bottom of the rankings with a score of 20 points, taking 41st place. Kosovo is next to last in 40th place with 21 points, the Republic of North Macedonia is in 39th place with 23 points and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 38th place with 24 points.
"Worryingly, most of the countries most vulnerable to misinformation, according to the Media Literacy Index for 2023, are also closest to the war in Ukraine started by Russia, and are among the most exposed to malicious misinformation," said the author of the analysis, Marin Lessenski, quoted in the press release. According to him, an additional difficulty is related to the fact that many of the societies most vulnerable to disinformation in Europe are in the Balkan countries, some of which in 2023 are still experiencing internal instability and have serious inter-state problems.