Using common sense against fake news


Estonia’s ranked 5th among 35 countries in the index for media literacy and resistance to false information drawn up by the Open Society Institute of Sofia.

In its second year, the index ranks countries according to freedom of the press, education, trust of the population in its government and e-participation. Estonia ranked fifth after Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Based on the country’s capabilities they were divided into clusters. Ireland was behind Estonia in the first ranked cluster. The second ranked cluster included Belgium, Germany, Iceland, the United Kingdom as well as Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

The Open Society Institute index outlines a pattern in which countries with high media freedom and a high education system stand out as well as having high media literacy and good resistance to fake news.

In the description of the index, Estonia was highlighted as the only Eastern European nation in the top cluster of leaders alongside Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland. The reason for this was the high ranking of Estonia in both the freedom of the press rankings and the good PISA test results.

The authors of the index recommend that freedom of the press and general education of the population be emphasized in the struggle against fake news and false information, which greatly increases the ability of critical thinking or the importance of using country farmer’s wisdom in orienteering through the media jungle.

For example, the Finnish President, who was re-elected at the beginning of the year, expressed a similar thinking. He does not see a problem of dealing with attempts at hostile influencing in Finland, basing this with hundreds of years of experience in being cautious and having critical thinking.

The index does a summary using several metered results and taking into account the results via a solid structure. Of the input 40% is provided by examples of freedom of the press of which 20% is from Freedom House rankings and 20% from Journalists without Borders’, index on freedom of the press.

The second largest input into the index is educational indicators based on 40% of the results of various parts of the PISA test and 5% on the proportion of people with higher education in society.

The remaining part consists of 10% for the Eurostat benchmark analysing the trust of the population as well as 5% of the input from the results of the EU e-participation index.

Graphics from the Open Society Institute of Sofia