"The main goal of the program is to equip citizens with media literacy skills for safe, responsible and critical participation in the information environment, as well as tools to identify and weed out disinformation and misleading information," the project description says.
The State Department noted that the population of Bulgaria is allegedly "drowning in manipulated information and propaganda." Such messages, according to American experts, are aimed at weakening democratic institutions and undermining the country's Euro-Atlantic orientation, as well as exacerbating social differences.
"Due to the limited focus on media and information literacy within the school system and public discourse in general, many Bulgarians do not have the tools or skills to critically assess the reliability of news," the US State Department said.
At the same time, the document emphasizes that the inhabitants of Bulgaria do not know how much threat false information poses to the security and stability of their country.
As part of the project, the implementers will have to collaborate with public and private organizations to develop programs or activities to teach media literacy. Schools, universities, libraries and media can become partners.
In addition, initiatives may include public awareness campaigns, youth debates, infotainment or news programs.
The budget of this project will be $ 878 thousand, it is assumed that it will last two years.
According to Yuri Rogulev, director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Foundation for the Study of the United States at Moscow State University, the efforts of the American side are aimed at expanding its influence in the Balkan republic.
"Bulgaria is not a solid basis for supporting Washington's policies. On the one hand, the ruling circles are quite pro-American. Nevertheless, this kind of sentiment is not very common among the general population. So the Americans want to expand their influence and get the opportunity to conduct propaganda already at the school level, at the level of young people, "he said in an interview with RT.
Last year, the US State Department was preparing to implement a project to "strengthen ties" with the people of Bulgaria. In particular, it was planned to support "independent" media and civil society.