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Business potential for disinformation


 "How to combat disinformation with the support of the private sector and for the benefit of the private sector" two-day workshop was launched in Aghveran, Armenia in May 21-22.The workshop hosts more than 20 people representing SMEs, Unions, Chambers and Business Membership Organizations (BSOs).

The purpose of the workshop is to help representatives of the private sector combat disinformation and make a positive change in the media environment of the country.
FOICA President Shushan Doydoyan and CIPE Program Officer Luiza Ayvazyan opened the event. The two-day workshop is organized in the framework of the "Empowering the Private Sector to Combat Disinformation" project with the support of the Center for International Private Enterprise , CIPE Europe & Eurasia.

Shushan Doydoyan spoke about disinformation, its possible consequences, risks, negative impact on the business community, referred to the advertising products provided by the business community, and emphasized how the spread of misinformation harms these processes.

"As representatives of the business community, you often make large investments in advertising materials, mainly in various media. Before ordering an advertisement, we urge you to check how honest the media outlet is, in terms of maintaining its journalistic behavior, for example, to what extent they are actively involved in defamation and insult lawsuits. If you do not have the opportunity to study it, you can check with partner organizations before ordering any ads ․ "Because ordering an advertisement means feeding the media outlet in some way, feeding the media outlet that also spreads misinformation," Mrs. Shushan Doydoyan added.

Luiza Ayvazyan, presenting the main directions of the activity of the Center for International Private Enterprise, mentioned that CIPE has just started implementing programs on the topic of disinformation.

"CIPE is one of the few organizations that targets the private sector and organizations working with businesses. Disinformation programs are often targeted at CSOs or government officials, and our research confirms that the private sector has little opportunity to develop its capacity in this area. "While we are convinced that disinformation can have a great impact on the business community, at the same time the business community itself has great potential in the fight against disinformation," said Ms. Luiza Ayvazyan.

In the first part of the workshop, leading experts in the field Arthur Papyan and Artak Harutyunyan presented the problems of disinformation in the international and local context, its possible impact on business processes, the scope of risks and prevention opportunities.

The participants discussed practical international and Armenian examples, told about their experience and expectations related to the field. "There is a lot to do in this sphere, I am glad that we had the opportunity to clarify the problems and discuss the framework of mechanisms aimed at their solution and prevention. I think there will be many opportunities for cooperation in the near future ․ I am sure that many of our members need systematic knowledge and practical skills in this field, "said Mr. Edgar Mehrabyan, Program Coordinator of the RA Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In the second part of the workshop, the FOICA President presented the draft National Strategy for Combating Disinformation. The participants discussed the main directions included in it and the role of the private sector. The topics of self-regulation of the fight against disinformation in the business sphere, the role of the cooperation network and the preconditions for the formation were also discussed.

"It is important that in addition to discussing sectoral and practical operational issues, we also had the opportunity to get acquainted with the draft National Strategy for Combating Misinformation," said Ms. Armine Davtyan, Policy Advisor to the American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia (AmCham). She expressed her readiness to discuss the draft Strategy with the members of the organization in the near future, assuring that this is a wonderful opportunity not only to inform more than three hundred members about the opportunities to fight against disinformation, but also to receive valuable, applicable comments.

At the end of the meeting, the participants reaffirmed their ability to combat disinformation by joining a statement symbolizing joint cooperation, expressing their willingness to unite their individual and professional efforts in the fight against disinformation.

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