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The overall objective of this project is to build local capacity in Serbia to combat propaganda, disinformation and misinformation circulating in the public sphere. Donor: Transition Promotion Program of the Czech Foreign Ministry
Overall Objective: To strengthen the ability of student and professional journalists to timely identify and efficiently fight fakes and disinformation campaigns, thus improving access of Serbian citizens to quality information and indentify propaganda, disinformation and misinformation circulating in the public sphere.
Partner: Novi Sad School of Journalism (NSSJ)
1. To provide journalism educators with the background knowledge to understand the motivations and methods behind the spread of propaganda, disinformation, and misinformation.
2. To provide journalists with skills and tools to debunk misinformation, disinformation and propaganda
3. To further the long-term integration of such teaching methods into journalism curricula through outreach to faculty and creation of Serbian-language resources that may be used by students and professors
- Training of trainers (workshop/study visit) in Prague to transfer skills and tools on dealing with propaganda, misinformation and disinformation
- Training of trainers (online course) to deliver an upper-level or graduate class on using social sources in reporting. Students will also work on case studies of specific incidences of disinformation that have appeared across the Czech media landscape and use the various tools that they have learned to debunk false information
- Training workshop for students in Novi Sad for a two-day workshop will be modelled on the above Czech workshop. The sessions will be delivered by the trained educators, who will focus on case studies of specific Serbian examples of propaganda, disinformation and misinformation. The methods of recognising such information will be explored together with showing the best methods of exposing it.
- Online course for students to task them with finding a specific category of false or deliberately misleading news content using different verification means as well as demonstrating how such content can be effectively debunked
- Application of acquired skills to exercise how to best present their findings through textual, audio and visual forms (photo, video, visualised data) and how to disseminate such content widely
- Learning resource creation and promotion to facilitate the inclusion of high quality training on information verification by education and training entities
- Curriculum creation and promotion to reflect the experiences and resources collected during the project as well as Serbian specifics related to the subject filed.
In September and October 2018, the journalism educators completed the online course over a period of five weeks. They also worked on case studies of specific incidences of disinformation that have appeared across the Balkan media landscape, using the various tools that they have learned to debunk false information.
In the final stages of the Debunking Misinformation in Serbia project, the partners from the Novi Sad School of Journalism created an online learning resource as a separate website. The website, fakenews.rs, hosts the Serbian version of TOL's online course as well as case studies on examples of false news in Serbia conducted by trainees on this project. The NSSJ produced an additional learning resource, a shortened version of the online course with links to all the tools suited for general public use.
In addition, the NSSJ team produced a study of the front pages of Serbia’s best-selling, pro-government tabloid, Informer, in the past year, finding as many as 362 pieces of false news on them.
In parallel, NSSJ produced a guide on fake news in the form of a freely downloadable publication. The guide provides comprehensive instruction on how to discover and debunk false information as well as offering a historical overview of some of the most infamous examples of fake news in Serbia.
Training workshop for Serbian journalists and journalism students on fact-checking
Within the project Debunking Disinformation in Serbia, which TOL implements in partnership with the Novi Sad School of Journalism, a two-day training seminar for journalists and journalism students was held on 21 and 22 October in Novi Sad. The project aims to build capacity for dealing with propaganda and disinformation in Serbia.13 trainees from Niš, Novi Sad and Belgrade took part in the activities. They were thought and guided through exercises by a group of six journalism educators, who are all lecturers at Serbian journalism schools and journalism trainers. In the first phase of the project, the educators completed a four-day training program on debunking disinformation in Prague and Brno, where they joined colleagues from Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
The training focused on techniques in identifying and debunking false information in the public sphere, with the participants learning about numerous tools to verify the authenticity and factual validity of information in the media.
In further stages of the project an online learning resource will be developed in Serbian to help the participants as well as other potential users master fact-checking techniques. The participants will use the platform to conduct case studies of specific examples of false information circulating in the Serbian public sphere.
The educators have already adopted some of the acquired techniques into their regular teaching activities. In the final phase of the project they will draft a curriculum for a course on information verification.
The project was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic within the framework of the Czech Republic's Transformation Cooperation Program.
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Transitions magazine = Your one-stop source for news, research and analysis on the post-communist region.
Sign up for the free TOL newsletter!
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