CD2I and SMIT lead European Commission appointed hub on fact-checking and media literacy

We are delighted to announce that a VUB-led consortium, including our Centre for Digitalisation, Democracy and Innovation (CD2I) and Studies in Media, Innovation and Technology (SMIT), has been selected to set up a hub on research, fact-checking and media literacy on online disinformation in Belgium and Luxembourg. They will join the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO), a network of hubs on digital media contributing to the fight against disinformation across Europe.
Director of the Research Centre for Digitalisation, Democracy and Innovation, Prof. Trisha Meyer, will be the principal investigator of the project. Prof. Ike Picone, from imec-SMIT-VUB and Prof. Georgios Terzis, Prof. Jonas Lefevere and Prof. Trisha Meyer from CD2I, will be involved from the academic side. The project duration is 30 months and should start in October 2021.
For more information on the EDMO network and the other hubs, please visit the EDMO page. To find out more about this project, please read the project abstract.

Project abstract

This Action will set up a Belgian and Luxembourgish hub for research on digital media and disinformation (EDMO BELUX). It brings together an unprecedented, experienced and extensive network of fact-checkers, media, disinformation analysts, media literacy organisations and academics to detect, analyse and expose emerging harmful disinformation campaigns. Through rapid alerts in the network, fact checks and investigative reporting will reach first responders to disinformation (media, civil society, government) in order to minimize the impact of disinformation campaigns. In addition, through media literacy campaigns, EDMO BELUX will raise awareness and build resilience among citizens and media to combat disinformation. Finally, the hub will embed its disinformation monitoring, analysis and awareness into a multidisciplinary research framework on the impact of disinformation and platform responses on democratic processes.
The Action will focus on two countries at the centre of EU activity. It will investigate emerging disinformation campaigns relevant to politics in Belgium, its Dutch-speaking and French-speaking communities and Luxembourg, and has a local focus when conducting its impact studies research and building media literacy efforts. Complementary to the attention paid to national and community needs and given the central location of the hub, EDMO BELUX will monitor and disclose EU level disinformation campaigns. The network of experts thus will comprise not only Belgian and Luxembourgish, but also EU organisations working to combat disinformation. As disinformation campaigns rarely respect the boundaries of nations, this complement allows for a better understanding of underlying and common actors, vectors and tools of disinformation campaigns across the EU.
The Action seeks to demonstrate at a micro-scale that cross-geographical and linguistic collaboration is feasible, while remaining locally and culturally embedded. Only when national and multinational hubs support each other’s endeavors can disinformation campaigns across the European Union be efficiently and effectively detected and tackled. The by-design multilingual and multinational focus of EDMO BELUX will shine a light on how disinformation can travel and be countered across multiple communities, illustrating and complementing the work of the EDMO central hub.