- November 08, 2023
- November 08, 2023
On November 8, 2023, the Aspen Institute Germany hosted a discussion titled “Digital Transformation and Its Pitfalls: Cybersecurity, Hate Speech, and Disinformation in the Western Balkans” in Berlin. Besides Dr. Regine Grienberger, Cyber Ambassador, German Federal Foreign Office, high-level representatives from the Western Balkans attended the event: Josip Brkić, Liza Gashi, Fatmire Isaki and Adia Sakiqi.
In recent years, rapid digitalization and the exponential increase in cyberattacks in the Western Balkans have posed significant challenges. The region has also grappled with a rising tide of disinformation campaigns and a dearth of objective reporting, particularly on social media platforms. Within this landscape, politically motivated fake news and deliberate attempts to discredit opponents have proliferated, casting a shadow over democratic principles and challenging EU accession aspirations. The accelerating digitalization of the region, coupled with a surge in cyberattacks, has presented substantial hurdles. The imperative to fortify cyber resilience has thus emerged as a fundamental prerequisite for stability and security. Discussions of the complexity of these challenges highlight the pivotal role of cybersecurity.
Moving through the digital age, the following crucial questions guided the discussion: What steps are essential in bolstering cyber resilience? How can cooperation between the Western Balkans and the EU be deepened to effectively tackle these issues? What is the impact of digitalization on media freedom, and how does this vary across the Western Balkans? On a deeper level, diverse voices from across the region will be consulted, scrutinizing how these factors influence the quality of democratic discourse. Addressing concerns such as preventing political interference, ensuring balanced reporting, countering disinformation and hate speech, and understanding the role of external actors will be paramount.
This event was part of the project “Western Balkans Initiative: Engagement for Progress and Stability” kindly supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.