Understanding and fighting disinformation: the European Digital Media Observatory kicks off

©European Union, 2021, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service©European Union, 2021, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service

The EU-funded European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) project started its activities yesterday. Led by the European University Institute of Florence (Italy), EDMO will support the creation and work of a multidisciplinary community composed of fact-checkers, academic researchers and other relevant stakeholders with expertise in the field of online disinformation. The project will contribute to a deeper understanding of disinformation relevant actors, vectors, tools, methods, dissemination dynamics, prioritised targets and impact on society. Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, said: “Disinformation is increasingly becoming a threat to our democratic societies and we need to fight it. Whilst doing so, we will uphold European values and fundamental rights, including the freedom of expression and information. The independent European Digital Media Observatory is an important element of our approach – it promotes fact-checking and improves our ability to understand better the spread of online disinformation.” Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, added: “The past few months have again shown the serious and damaging impact disinformation can have on our health, societies, and economies. I am pleased to see the launch of the European Digital Media Observatory. The Observatory will be an important reference point for our efforts to fight, debunk, expose, understand and analyse disinformation activities in Europe.” This independent collaboration hub will increase the scientific knowledge available on online disinformation but also advance the development of an EU market of fact-checking services, and support public authorities in charge of monitoring digital media and developing new policies. It will receive €2.5 million funding through Connecting Europe Facility, the European infrastructure financing programme. The consortium includes the Athens Technology Center (Greece), Aarhus University (Denmark), and the fact-checking organisation Pagella Politica (Italy).