CERV project "Democracy over Disinformation" 3rd international conference report - Unique Projects

CERV project „Democracy over Disinformation” 3rd international conference report

The 3rd International conference of the CERV project “Democracy over Disinformation” was held in Germany. The initial 3rd International conference was planned and arranged on 24th of June, 2023 in Berlin, Germany where also partners meeting took place. However, as initial conference didn’t attract enough attention and participants/citizens, we repeated the conference on 31st of October, 2023 in Potsdam, Germany.

By gathering participants we informed about upcoming conference our organisation’s members, citizens and other NGOs from our local communities, we have individually invited youngsters who have recently took part in our other previously implemented activities and projects.

The 3rd international conference included presentations of partner organisations, activities already implemented during DoD project; introducing survey research report, prototype of methodical tool and training on media literacy skills.

The conference both on 24th if June, 2023 and on 31st of October, 2023 started with the introduction part which was dedicated for opening the conference, introducing participants to the project’s purpose and aims, already implemented activities, short overview of each of previous conferences and responsibilities of partner organisations, their contributions to the project. Both events were held in English language.

Further the final survey research report with the results and insights was provided and performed by representative of Einzigartige Projekte e.V. It was an explicit presentation of research report, as final presentation consisted of 42 slides each question being analysed and tendencies, if any, revealed by gender, country of residence, age group, living place and education. The final research paper consisting of 36 pages was also presented to the audience and later uploaded on the cites for wider dissemination.

Partners from Italy presented methodical tool prototype about disinformation, fake news and increasing of media literacy which was in the prototyping and development phase at the time of the conference. They collected the feedback and opinions about possible changes and improvements that could have been done for the prototype.

Around coffee break further training on media literacy skills took place with combination of theorical input and non-formal work in groups. Some core concepts which were introduced during the training: What is media literacy? The advancement of AI makes it even more difficult to distinguish between what is real, what is not real. And this blurriness of reality makes us to interact more while still being more confused.

“How does fake news work?” that sensational statements are tend to be replicated which are also impacted by pre-existing biases.

Social media role in fake news. Social media changed communication from “one—to-many” to “many-to-many”. We are the ones to be creating information now. The consumer at the same times becomes the creator. So there is a higher amount of invalid information which is likely to be created.

Further discussed aspects were errors in “checking the source” – that using Googlę is not always trustworthy as it is biased to the way how the searcher forms and inquiry. Also discussed evaluating trustworthiness of academic/scientific articles, especially overviewing the case of “Vaccines cause autism” statement which came out from invalid research implemented and announced by a doctor (person who comes from academic environment). Causation vs bias.

The last theory which was introduced during training part was logical fallacies. Illogical reasons in statements or belief systems that don’t match. Different ways why the way we are expressing the thought does not make sense.

After practical activities about fake news recognition, the conference came to an end. Participants were informed about upcoming steps and activities of the project, invited to the online conference and encouraged to review and read full research report and other project-related information posted online in partner websites and social media.

At the end of the event, a short survey was conducted to receive feedback about the conference and participants evaluation about their knowledge, media literacy skills.

68% of participants noted that they are satisfied either very satisfied with the conference.

78% of participants identified that they have learnt something new in terms of media literacy.

74% of participants evaluated that they are more capable to check the source of information.

65% of participants stated that they are more capable to recognise fake news after the conference (while 30% marked that they already knew how to do it).

Project is funded by the European Union, Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) programme.