Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Erasmus+ Project on Fact-Checking and Media Literacy

A European cooperation project on disinformation and fact-checking training empowering current and future media and media education professionals, to identify, prevent, and combat fake news spread over digital networks.

2019 - 2022

The way disinformation spreads over digital social networks is a threat to our democracies, our society, our economy, and to individuals. It alters the general public’s confidence in the media and tends to undermine freedom of press and freedom of expression. As highlighted in the report published by the High Level Expert Group (2018) set up by the European Commission, tackling disinformation requires a multidimensional approach and strategy because of its technological, legal, political, economic and educational implications ("A multi-dimensional approach to disinformation. Report of the independent High level Group on fake news and online disinformation" - March 2018).

The European Commission particularly recognises "the key role of emerging technologies which are changing the way information is produced and disseminated, and have the potential to play a central role in tackling disinformation over the longer term. The EU Commission also streses that: "Journalists must have the right digital skills to be able to use data and social media analytics, with a view to enhancing fact-finding and verification". Accordingly, the project has two main objectives:

  • To meet the need for new and advanced skills that media and media education professionals must acquire.
  • To enable participants to acquire real expertise in the fields of fact-checking and disinformation, in order to enable them to exercise the new emerging profession of fact-checker.

With this in mind, the project plans to design and develop a joint European cross-disciplinary post-graduate training curriculum on disinformation and fact-checking accessible via the Web through the creation of eight higher education eLearning modules covering the main disciplines involved in designing and implementing a fact-checking strategy based on quality news production and distribution. The following results and impact are envisaged:

  • A new joint cross-disciplinary postgraduate training curriculum on disinformation and factchecking with a set of eight web-based higher education e-Learning modules; joint organization in the partners' universities of the new postgraduate training program on fact-checking; a satisfaction survey and study;
  • The joint organization of five face-to-face workshops on fact-checking for news media professionals
  • A project website; a dissemination web portal directed at the media, scientific, and professional community; a geo-location website of the post-graduate students; the organization of an international conference in Lisbon on fact-checking, disinformation, and education; the organization in Portugal (mainland and islands) of a 2-day workshop on fact-checking.

Impacts & future benefits: the dissemination of advanced knowledge to current and future media professionals; meeting the need for new skills; the European deployment of postgraduate studies and international access to training via the Web.

This project has a duration of 36 months and will conclude in August 2022.

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