On 24–25 May 2023, 25 officers from a range of Moldovan law enforcement agencies successfully completed a two-day in-person training entitled “Stop the virus of disinformation”. The training aimed to provide participants with techniques on how to detect and respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) disinformation, as well as communicate with the media following a CBRN event.
The training, organized by UNICRI in cooperation with the European Commission and in coordination with Moldova’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), forms part of a multi-year initiative to enhance strategic planning, capacity building, and law enforcement training in line with the MIA’s strategy for 2022-2030. Participants were nominated from various law enforcement agencies including the General Inspectorate of Police, the General Inspectorate of Border Police, the Internal Protection and Anti-Corruption Service (SPIA) and the “Ștefan cel Mare” Academy.
The challenge of CBRN disinformation is especially pertinent to Moldova, as false information and conspiracy theories on CBRN risks can cause confusion and mistrust among the population and even jeopardize the government’s response in an emergency. It is therefore imperative that national officers are equipped with training to understand common disinformation techniques, as well as knowledge on how to demonstrate the falseness of information or a conspiracy theory (debunking), to help ensure the population’s safety.
A mix of presentations and practical activities facilitated by experts from UNICRI’s Centre for Disinformation formed the basis of the training, which built upon UNICRI’s previous work in the area of CBRN disinformation. The first day focused on disinformation techniques and existing technology options to detect false information (such as Artificial Intelligence tools and open-source intelligence), including the advantages and limitations of each solution. The second day of training looked at how best to respond to disinformation, as well as how to communicate with the media about a CBRN event in order to minimize the risk of disinformation.
Participants provided positive feedback on the training, highlighting the importance of specialized training to respond to emerging threats in the Republic of Moldova. As a next step, UNICRI will continue its partnership with the MIA by delivering ongoing training to law enforcement agencies, preparing them for the rapidly evolving regional security context. This support will continue until 2025, benefiting key institutions like the MIA, the General Police Inspectorate, and the Stefan cel Mare Police Academy. The immediate focus for 2023 is to deliver crucial training addressing drug trafficking, the use of explosive materials, and modern human resources approaches.
In March 2023, the Director of UNICRI and Moldova’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Ana Revenco, ratified a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), highlighting the need for customized technical support to address Moldova’s unique security issues. To date, UNICRI has conducted research in Moldova on regional security and facilitated workshops on cybersecurity, critical infrastructure planning, and bomb alert cases.
Since 2020, UNICRI has been monitoring the malicious use of social media and analysing existing technology options to detect and debunk false information to understand the advantages and possible challenges of each option in the short and long term. The Institute recently published its findings as part of the Handbook to debunk CBRN disinformation, a practical guide designed for individuals or agencies working in CBRN risk mitigation at different levels and is now providing partner countries with related capacity-building activities.
To learn more about UNICRI's work in addressing CBRN disinformation, please click here.