The European Commission recognises the relevance of the fight against disinformation and has therefore allocated two million euros to the Flemish-Dutch EDMO project. Within that project, a multidisciplinary hub will be established by and for scientists, fact-checkers, media companies and other stakeholders.
Increasing media literacy and detecting fake news
The Flemish-Dutch collaboration fits within the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO), an international network of hubs in which experts in the field of disinformation join forces and share knowledge. Apart from the Dutch-Flemish hub, seven other EDMO hubs will be launched in Europe in the autumn. This way, EDMO increases media literacy with the public, both in the Low Countries and throughout Europe.
Over the next three years, the hub will not only detect growing disinformation campaigns, but also produce and publish fact-checks. A research team will also be appointed to analyse various strategies and methods that detect fake news in terms of process, effectiveness and applicability within the European policy and legal framework.
Professor Miguel Poiares Maduro, Chair of the EDMO Board of Directors: "EDMO brings together European fact-checkers, media literacy experts and researchers to better map disinformation. The EDMO hubs, such as the Flemish-Dutch project, play a crucial role in this. The hubs analyse disinformation campaigns, organise media literacy activities, and support local media and authorities. They provide a clearer picture of the situation at the national and regional level to promote the fight against disinformation."
The different partners of the EDMO project combine complementary areas of expertise, ranging from research to publication. On the Flemish side, VRT, Knack, KU Leuven and Textgain are all putting their shoulders to the wheel. On the Dutch side, these are the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Leiden University, University of Amsterdam, the Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANP) and the research collective, Bellingcat. Furthermore, there is intensive collaboration with Netwerk Mediawijsheid and Mediawijs, two network organisations in the Netherlands and Flanders that make efforts to promote media literacy among children, (vulnerable) adults and media professionals.
Johan Oomen, project coordinator of EDMO, Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision: “Financial support from the EU enables us to bring together a network of fact-checkers in Flanders and the Netherlands and to develop software that can efficiently detect misinformation. The different hubs launched this year in different Member States are exchanging results, so efforts in the Netherlands and Belgium also contribute to the broader agenda to support the news ecosystem in Europe.”
The Dutch language will already be well represented within the European EDMO network. The European Commission announced that it would also subsidise a second hub in the Low Countries, aimed at fact-checking in Dutch, French, German, English and Luxembourgish. Under the name EDMO BELUX, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Brussels School of Governance + SMIT), Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles, Mediawijs, RTL, Agence France Presse (AFP), EU DisinfoLab and Athens Technology Center will be responsible for this. Of course, the Flemish-Dutch EDMO and EDMO BELUX will work closely together.
EDMO in practice at Sound and Vision
Sound and Vision is the coordinator of the project and will ensure that project results find their way to the international network. Sound and Vision also works closely with Network Media Literacy (Netwerk Mediawijsheid) in developing workshops aimed at journalists and other media professionals. And with scientists in incorporating factchecking tools into the CLARIAH research infrastructure for the humanities and social sciences.