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Emoji - teorija zarote. Vir: Adobe Stock
Pri teoriji zarote gre za prepričanje, da vplivne sile v zakulisju na skrivaj s slabimi nameni manipulirajo z nekaterimi dogodki ali razmerami. Vir: Adobe Stock

UNESCO guidelines: how to identify conspiracy theories

Can you spot a conspiracy theory?

For example, what do you think about the thesis that aliens direct politicians? Or that Elvis is alive? That the white lines in the blue sky are poisoning living beings?

Conspiracy theories, like fake news, divide society and increase distrust.

At UNESCO, the leading organization of the United Nations that promotes media literacy, they have prepared instructions on how to recognize them and how to talk to those who believe in them, says Barbara Urbanija from the Slovenian office for UNESCO, who took care of the translation together with the organization Most.

Barbara Urbanija. Vir: osebni arhiv
Barbara Urbanija. Vir: personal archive

Why did you decide to translate the messages?

Fake news and conspiracy theories are a major threat to democracy and can cause real harm to people.

Many people believe in conspiracy theories. As many as 60 percent of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory; opinion polls in Slovenia also show the same.

Those who have been taught what conspiracy theories are and how to recognize them are much less susceptible.

UNESCO and the European Commission therefore teamed up with experts and jointly prepared educational posters (2, 3, 4, 5), which are now also available in Slovenian.

How do conspiracy theories relate to media literacy?

The more media literate understand how the mechanisms of conspiracy theory work and are less likely to fall into its trap.

Young people become interested in conspiracy theories around the age of 14, so they need to be taught in time how to respond to them.

How do you address someone who believes in one of the conspiracy theories?

In conversation, we must above all be sympathetic and never mocking.

Dva logotipa in disclaimer Erasmus+

A person who believes in a conspiracy theory is often very frightened; persuasion to the contrary is unlikely to have any effect.

But we can listen to her and ask detailed questions so she can think for herself whether her arguments really make sense.

Points To Consider

  1. Do you know someone who believes in conspiracy theories?
  2. Can you talk to him about them?
  3. How do you help yourself when you want to identify a conspiracy theory?

***

The original version of this article was published on July 1st.

English translation courtesy of JL FlannerTotal Slovenia News, an English language website with news from and about Slovenia.

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