The Evens Foundation engages in initiatives that bolster journalists and media community in their professional growth. This support derives from the conviction that free and responsible media are fundamental for democracy and the values it carries. What we all observe now as one of the major challenges – both for the media and the audience – is the overflow of mis- and disinformation that very often leads to deepening social divisions and tensions. Within the Foundation’s strategic frame on ethical issues, norms and values in the European reality, we support actions and good practices that contribute to challenging this dangerous trend.
Fact-checking approaches are increasing in popularity, but are also becoming contested. External fact-checkers that flag content as potentially dubious can lead to communities that mistrust institutions such as traditional media and who put even more faith in these labelled messages. Fact-checking as an internalised approach, is a much more sustainable vaccine against misinformation, and follows in the footsteps of a long tradition of media education and empowerment.
EUfactcheck is a project of the European Journalism Training Association building a sustainable curriculum unit on fact-checking of (so far) 20 Journalism schools across Europe, with students producing factchecks based on a common methodology for dealing with misinformation.
EUfactcheck’s overall goal is to improve the quality of journalism through education and to foster the fact-based public debate through the growth of democratic awareness of EU voters and European citizens. Through factchecking European political claims and trying to tackle misinformation, the students and their public grow a deeper insight and interest in democratic processes, both on national and European level. For the pedagogical process specific methodology is being developed: the EUfactcheck flowchart.
The Evens Foundation joins EUfactcheck to secure further impact of the project. In the upcoming months we will work on introducing teaching of factchecking to a wider range of journalism schools through launching and supporting fact-checking education approaches for journalism education. We now focus on the Balkans and Central East European countries.
All insights and feedback on the EP factchecking experience of the project participants – the team, academic teachers and students - will result in a common manual and didactic guidelines for journalism students dealing with misinformation. It will offer unique perspective of journalists coming from different national contexts, but trained in the same methodology.
Depending on the outcome of an evaluation of the project potential continuation of expanding EUfactcheck methodology will be planned.