Completed workshops on the fight against fake news and the spread of misinformation as part of the Read Twice project!

The association ECHO , in cooperation with the Croatian Pan-European Union, held three workshops for students during April and May 2023 on the topic of combating fake news and recognizing and spreading disinformation.

3 half-day trainings with a total of 179 young people and students were held in Zagreb on April 18, 2023, May 16, 2023 and May 23, 2023. The workshops were held by students, ten young people from Croatia who participated in capacity building workshops in Berlin. and Porto.

The aim of these trainings was to raise the awareness of the participants about the impact of misinformation on democracy and to show how misinformation and fake news undermine the commissions in society and its institutions. As a result, participants learned how the internet environment works, how online news articles and social media posts are generated and paid for, and how to critically analyze the content they consume. Different methods of manipulating readers on social networks are presented, including manipulation of images and videos, intimidation, fake profiles, bots and trolls.

The trainings also promoted fact-checking journalistic practices, equipping young people with the skills to critically approach content, identify fake news and counter it with verified and reliable information. Young media professionals who participated in capacity-building activities in Berlin and Porto took on the role of trainers, sharing their first-hand impressions and acquired skills. During local educations in Croatia, young people got involved in the discourse of fake news, expanded their knowledge, skills and acquired tools to promote the benefits of reliable and verified information for society.
Each training lasted half a day (including registration, introductory speeches, three 90-minute lectures, coffee break, Q&A session, discussion and time to fill out the CERV survey at the end).Although the trainings were dedicated to students, the ECHO Association created and announced an invitation to include all interested public. Free events were promoted through the social networks of the ECHO Association and HPU and through university channels in order to involve participants from different faculties. This resulted in a total audience of 179 people. Each event exceeded the suggested number of 50 participants.

The agenda of the three events was prepared by young media professionals who attended capacity-building activities in Berlin and Porto, in collaboration with Association ECHO and communication studies professors from Faculty of Croatian studies. In order to prepare the agenda and teaching materials, young media professionals used the materials, tools and approaches that they were acquainted with during their visits to Berlin and Porto by the experts of Alliance4Europe, CICANT, Der Spiegel, Deutsche Welle, Público, Rádio Nova etc.
After the capacity building activities, the young media professionals split into three groups based on their availabilities to attend the scheduled university trainings and prepared lectures for each event.

The topic of all three events was to stimulate critical thinking among young people and to promote a new range of skills to deal with disinformation and fight the spread of fake news. Participants have learned:
– What is the relationship between fake news and truth in the age of digital media,
– What is the relationship between fake news, propaganda and media literacy,
– How fake news creates hate speech,
– How the online environment works,
– How online news articles and social media posts are generated and paid for,
– How to critically analyse the content that has been consumed,
– Skills to access content critically and identify fake news.
In addition, participants were acquainted with some of the most effective modern tools for recognizing misleading information such as Crowd Tangle; DISARM Framework, Public Editor, which can be used both professionally and in everyday life. Many examples of fake news from social and political life were presented and discussed. At the opening of each event, the project manager from Udruga ECHO presented the Read Twice project and the funding programme CERV and at the end of it, asked participants to complete the CERV survey.

Achieved results and impact
The events were all organised in collaboration with universities, which guaranteed greater involvement of their students. The three events were attended by a varied audience, including people with various levels of media literacy skills – from such who have never had a training in media literacy, to more experienced citizens, journalists, social media users. The group of students included students in mass communications, journalism, European studies, International relations, Law, Pedagogics, Social Sciences, Human rights, etc. It involved young EU citizens giving them the chance to debate on the challenges related to fake news spread and their views on how to mitigate their impact. The discussions provided attendees with the chance to exchange their views on national and EU policy making process and attracted their attention to the efforts of EU institutions in addressing the problem. At each event participants were divided into groups and asked to perform tasks together and resolve challenges related to fake news and disinformation.

Based on the feedback received after the completion of the CERV survey, we can conclude that the events increased attendees‘ motivation and abilities to promote skills to assess information critically among their friends, families, peers, and the other members of the society. Participants were made aware of the dangers and opportunities that Internet is related to as a means of accessing information, and how media platforms affect their access to information.

The basis for the mentioned trainings as well as the need for them arose after a detailed needs assessment and analysis of the situation in Croatia, which you can find at the following link:
Read Twice – Media Literacy Needs Assessment – CROATIA – v1
The aim of this document was to identify the skills and knowledge gaps and needs of the project’s target groups (young media practitioners, young people, local stakeholders and civil society organizations, social media users) in relation to education and training related to media literacy, fake news and misinformation in Croatia. Although the document does not represent scientific or representative research, through surveys on social networks, online questionnaires and personal interviews, it identifies important challenges of users of online media and highlights important recommendations for solving current problems and shortcomings. The document also presents an overview of the media literacy curriculum in Croatia as part of formal education, as well as existing best practices regarding fact-checking that were initiated after the start of the pandemic.

You can find the report on the conducted trainings at the following link

event-description-sheet__Local trainings in Croatia

Read Twice has received funding under Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme (CERV) of the European Union, under Grant Agreement 101081326.


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