European Fund established to fight online disinformation
ROME - The European Media and Information Fund will mobilise financial resources in support of media literacy and fact-checking initiatives, as well as research projects on online disinformation. The Fund will also provide individual grants for young scholars and policy-makers studying digital and media literacy and online disinformation. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the European University Institute decided to set up the new fund to help tackle online disinformation, which represents a growing threat to democratic societies. The rise of disinformation calls for more research into the reasons behind it, as well as the techniques, actors and vectors used to spread disinformation. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, one of Europe’s most reputed philanthropic foundations, will host and manage the new fund.
The European Digital Media Observatory, based at the European University Institute’s School of Transnational Governance, will act as an advisor to the Fund in the formulation of the calls for applications, as well as the evaluation and selection of the projects. The European Media and Information Fund is open for donations by multiple donors, who will not be involved in the management or governance of the Fund. European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová said: “I welcome the creation of this innovative fund that brings together various stakeholders to support media literacy and fact-checking initiatives against disinformation. I have no doubts that we need all-hands-on-board approach including a collaboration of private and public entities to address the threat of disinformation. I fully endorse strong safeguards that will guarantee the independence of the fund and I encourage private donors to participate in it. The Commission will continue to work closely with EDMO and support its objectives.”
Professor Renaud Dehousse, President of the European University Institute commented: “Online disinformation is one of the great societal challenges of our time. The European University Institute is proud to be associated to the European Media and Information Fund, which will be a crucial tool to better understand and address the phenomenon. This will be done through the rigorous research and knowledge-sharing that constitute the Institute’s raison d’être.”
Isabel Mota, President of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation reacted: “It is with deep satisfaction and high expectations about the results of this project that the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation joins forces with the European University Institute to create this European Fund that promotes digital literacy avoiding new forms of social exclusion and helps fighting disinformation and fake news, the late threats to fundamental values like democracy and human rights.”
• Founded in 1972, the European University Institute, based in Fiesole, is an intergovernmental institution involving 23 Member States of the European Union. The Institute offers research and learning opportunities at the Ph.D., postdoctoral, master’s and executive training levels.
• The European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) is based at the European University Institute’s School of Transnational Governance. EDMO brings together fact-checkers, media literacy experts, and academic researchers to understand and analyse disinformation, in collaboration with media organisations, online platforms and media literacy practitioners.
• The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation was created in 1956 by the last will and testament of Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian, a philanthropist of Armenian origin who lived in Lisbon between 1942 and the year of his death, 1955. Established in perpetuity, the Foundation’s main purpose is to improve the quality of life through art, charity, science and education.