NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Sofia

site.btaInterior Minister Stoyanov Discusses Security, Disinformation

Interior Minister Stoyanov Discusses Security, Disinformation
Interior Minister Stoyanov Discusses Security, Disinformation
Caretaker Interior Minister Kalin Stoyanov at the spring session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, May 26, 2024 (BTA Photo)

Speaking on the second day of the spring session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Sofia, Bulgaria’s caretaker Interior Minister, Kalin Stoyanov, said that the meaning of security has changed long ago and is no longer limited to the conception of military protection.

In Stoyanov’s words, security has become a cross-cutting issue that requires close cooperation and dialogue between institutions, organizations, partners, civil society, and the media. "Even in the context of the current military conflicts and new threats, such as disinformation and cybercrime, the public perception of security is not focused on the common threat but is distorted through the lens of personal comfort and inviolability," he said.

"Any event, even accidental in nature, can pose a security risk," Stoyanov said. Any source of information or disinformation gets immediately spread by traditional and social media. Many speakers present different aspects of security and support their views with facts, which are sometimes highly selective. The truth is not news, and public discontent is fertile ground for disinformation. When an official position comes out or a fact gets disproved, everyone is often convinced of the opposite," the Minister said.

"We need to work towards open cooperation between institutions, media partners, and the public, proactive cross-cutting trainings, capacity building for critical thinking and fact-checking, support for responsible journalism and objective reporting," Stoyanov said. He added that all these efforts would be in vain "if we fail to restore public trust". In his words, building a sustainable and reliable mechanism to prevent and counter disinformation is a long-term investment.

The Minister gave the migration situation as an example, noting that "unfounded claims about increased migrant pressure and our country turning into a ghetto of illegal migrants" are often spread in the public domain. "The truth is that since September 2023, there has been a steady decrease in migration pressure towards Bulgaria," Stoyanov said.

He added that 12,342 illegal border crossing attempts were recorded between January 1 and May 10, 2024, which is a 70% decrease compared to the same period last year. 

The Migration Directorate centres are about 25% full, compared to the like period in 2023, when they were filled to capacity, Stoyanov noted.

The attempted assassination of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has reminded us of our vulnerability, Stoyanov said. "One can only speculate whether it could have been prevented if public vigilance on the 'front line' had been equipped to recognize the early signs, as is necessary in many other manifestations across the broad spectrum of radicalization down to domestic violence," the caretaker minister said.

"The traditional and social media are a very serious factor influencing public opinion, and I believe that they should only reflect the reality that is presented to them by official institutions, organizations, and ministries in each country," Stoyanov added.

He also commented on the June 9 national snap parliamentary and European elections, noting that his Ministry has been working in cooperation with the E-governance Ministry and the Central Election Commission to make sure that there is no interference in the upcoming vote.

The spring session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly will run until May 27. Caretaker Defence Minister Atanas Zapryanov and the Chief of Defence, Admiral Emil Eftimov, took part in the first day of the forum.

/IV/

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By 18:55 on 22.06.2024 Today`s news

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