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MODERNIZING MEDIA LITERACY,

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© Isabel Vermelho, 2017

CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES


EDITORIAL

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Editor-in-Chief Sophie Rebmann, Germany Print team Facilitators Sophie Rebmann, Germany Graphic Design Team Melody Da Fonseca, France Jan Indra, Czech Republic Mikolas Miciulis Sarunas, Lithuania Momal Mushtaq, Finland Aubry Touriel, Belgium Photographers Magdalini Gkogkou, Greece Maren Haeussermann, Germany Helena Verheye, Belgium Flore De Pauw, Belgium Mick ter Reehorst, Netherlands Francesco Morra, Italy Damian Gromala, Poland Isabel Maria de Sousa Vermelho, Portugal Iulian Bîrzoi, Romania

FROM THE Are we worrying too much? Even though this years’ European Youth Media Days (EYMD) bore the title “Modernising Media”, organisers, panellists and young media makers focused more on the dangers of modernisation than on its opportunities. This might seem natural facing the threat of fake-news and the rise of populism as well as, on a more personal level, uncertainty of the future for journalism. The editorial staff of this years’ European Youth Media Days also took a look at hardships in journalism. We examined the issue of fake news in the Catalan conflict and introduce fact-checkers intervening on both sides, we looked at prints special role in delivering factual news and laid out the discussion on how to cover radical right parties.

EDITOR But we chose to look both ways and focused on the brighter side of the future: In Lithuania, we spoke to young programmers who designed applications to improve media literacy, we checked out educational programmes promoting media literacy in Catalonia and Finland and took a closer look on the EU’s fight against Russian disinformation. We report about Greek newspapers that are being printed and edited by those who are usually only being written about: refugees themselves. We also met with Danish Correspondents in Brussels to talk about their daily work – and interviewed British MEPs whether they are working at all. And we analysed how media covers terrorism and present an example on how to write about conflicts: Peace-journalism. And even when worrying collectively, we still stepped towards positive perspectives: Our editorial department was a beautiful mix of diverse languages, nationalities and points of views and thus produced such a diverse and beautiful mix of (European) perspectives. Have a good read!

Cover Isabel Vermelho, Portugal Writers Uros Mamic, Serbia Jordi Ribas Ustrell, Catalunya Antonis-Charalampos Galanopoulos, Greece Martin Dimitrov, Bulgaria William Leerbeck Meyer, Denmark Aino Vasankari, Finland Noé Michalon, France Stavros Malichoudis, Greece Elisa Bertoli, Italy Dåvids Zalåns, Latvia Aisté Meiduté, Lithuania Liam Carter, Malta Natalia Skoczylas, Poland Sergi Santiago, Spain Irene Benedicto Escajedo, Spain Victor Nauzet Hernandez Sanchez, Spain Barbara Majsa, Hungary Lisa Axelsson, Sweden Kapil Summan, United Kingdom

Sophie Rebmann Germany

Writings and comments of any contributor do not necesarily reflect that of Orange Magazine.

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THE CATALAN CONFLICT 9 PRINT, SOCIETY’S GUARDIAN

European Youth Press

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The European Youth Press (EYP) is an umbrella organisation for young journalists in Europe. The EYP reaches more than 60,000 young journalists across Europe with 25 member organisations and several working groups, forming a solid volunteer and professional infrastructure. It is a democratic, non-profit organisation founded and managed by young media makers all between 20 and 30 years of age. The European Youth Press aims to enable young people to give voice to their opinion on issues in their country and how it relates to the global media landscape by providing access to attend and cover global conferences.

THE BIRTH OF TRUTH: HOW PROGRAMMERS ARE FIGHTING MISLEADING INFORMATION 12 THE LONG WAR AGAINST FAKE NEWS 14 FAR RIGHT IN THE MEDIA

Orange Magazine

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Orange Magazine was a journal founded by the European Youth Press in 2004. It caters to an international audience of English readers to address the gap of limited content produced by young Europeans that can be shared with youth outside the region. It is available in both print and online editions. All print and online editions of Orange Magazine are published on www. orangemagazine.eu, with PDF copies of print issues available for download, too.

THE FIGHT AGAINST DISINFORMATION ABOUT THE EU SPREAD BY RUSSIA 17 IMPATIENCE AND DISARRAY: THE CONTRASTED LIVES OF BRITISH MEPS 20

European Youth Media Days

A VOICE FOR THEMSELVES

For eight years now, the European Youth Media Days are annually being organised by the European Parliament in cooperation with the European Youth Press. Hundred young journalist from all over Europe gather at the European Parliament in Brussels for three days of discussions and media production. This year the inspiring topic is Media Freedom. The media makers are getting workshops from professionals in the fields of print, photo, radio and TV, resulting in creations from all genres, cross-workshop productions and a documentary about the course of the European Youth Media Days 2015.

22 WE ENDED UP HERE, WHAT NOW? 24 PEACE OF OUR MIND 26 CHANGING FACES OF VIOLENCE IN MEDIA

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EYMD DAY 1

© Damian Gromala

DISCOVERING THE PARLIAMENT

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THE CATALAN CONFLICT: A BREEDING GROUND FOR HOAXES polarizing conflicts like the catalan struggle for independence are the natural environment for the spreading of fake news. but it is

also at these turbulent times that fact-checking journalism arises.

“Either it’s a fake, or they are news, but both words are not compatible. Journalism can never use lies as a raw material”. This is what Josep Lluís Micó, doctor in Journalism in Ramon Llull University, has to say about the infamous term “fake news”. Micó believes that there is a difference between media that publish misleading information, and hoaxes being spread through the net. “It is quite paradoxical that there is now the figure of a fact-checker, as journalists, by definition, are already fact-checkers”, says Micó. According to him, the problem stems from “the internet era, it is a titanic task to verify the information because journalists are expected to produce news as if they work in a factory.” And he adds: “This cannot match the rigour that the profession demands, and it is the reason why lots of malicious messages pass through the filters of the mass media.” At the same time, Micó refuses to label as “fake news” all the hoaxes that go around and are not part of any publishing titles, as they are not to be considered by any means as “news”: “It is too bold to regard any video as news, as it is more likely to be just the spark that starts the chain of information.”. However, these kind of videos still get lots of attention because “they require very little effort to watch”, and so they only work as a way to “confirm” our biases, he adds.

“The more polarized a topic, the more emotional people get”, stresses Santi Justel, Journalism professor in International University of Catalonia. “There is less space for critical analysis and questioning our own convictions, and way more space for ‘fake news’”, adds Justel, who considers the political conflict in Catalonia a clear example of this kind of situations. Justel, who is an expert in fake news and the content in social media, believes that they are often created with malicious intents. Far-right media, trolls and political actors tend to be the authors of fake news. “There is also the change that a foreign government is trying to destabilize a rival using them”, he says. Regarding Catalonia, some voices claim that Russia is pushing forward the separatists to create uncertainty in Europe. Fact-checkers: the light at the end of the tunnel There is also a bright to be considered: fact-checking platforms are on the rise. Justel believes that “if some media explore this road, they will be able to tell apart from the rest of news portals on the internet”. In the weeks leading to the Catalan referendum in October 1st, social media was filled with false and inaccurate informations. Armored vehicles that never actually came to Catalonia could be seen on Facebook’s feed, and even WhatsApp chat groups shared with coworkers spread the impending arrest of the Catalan public television’s director — which never happened. All during these hectic days, there was a small group of journalists that worked non-stop. They are 6

the people behind Maldito Bulo (literally, Damned Hoax), a Spanish fact-checking platform created early this year. In only a few months, they have become a symbol of meticulous and double-checked journalism. It all started in January of 2017, when Clara Jiménez and Julio Montes, weary of all the fake news regarding refugees they received in family WhatsApp groups, decided to team up and create a debunking project. The task was not easy, and the number of hoaxes huge – but they got support from five more journalists and a programmer who joined the team. “The political tension lived in Catalonia has resulted in a boom of fake news”, explains David Fernández, Maldito Bulo’s programmer. Fernández believes that the Catalan conflict “is one of those topics that tend to polarize people and this situation makes it


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easier to retain only the experiences that reaffirm one’s beliefs, and too often people suspend critical thinking”. Only during the preceding days of the referendum until mid October, Maldito Bulo has already debunked more than forty hoaxes. Most of them seemed quite obvious to the informed reader, but some of them were quite sophisticated. “They come in many forms, but lots of them are based on manipulated or old videos or images, taken out of context. There are fake news that get covered and spread by mass media, as well as WhatsApp text full of rumours and fake warnings”, adds the platform’s programmer. Each one of them prefers a different process to get them fact-checked: When they find a suspicious image, the protocol of action starts with a reverse image search, to see if the same picture has had other uses beforehand. If the information

mentions any organization (as in the case of the public television in Catalunya), the team contacts the given institution and asks directly. Sometimes, content can be debunked more easily, with just a quick search on Google. Who is behind the hoaxes in Catalonia? One of the most complex and widely spread hoaxes was started by anti-independentists after the referendum: The post showed two pictures together that had very little to do with each other. One showed how an old woman was forcefully dragged out of a voting center. The other, a very similar-looking woman posing with Arnaldo Otegi, one of the leaders of the basque independentist movement that many believe to be an accomplice of the terrorist group ETA. The goal was clear: to distort the image of pacific voters being hit by the police, by

linking them to terrorism. “In the picture, you could already see some differences between the two women that made the hoax suspicious — and that’s why they shared a new and more blurred version of them. To confirm it was indeed a hoax, we had to identify at least one woman, and it was not an easy task”, says Fernández. “Luckily, our community of followers gave us enough information to finally contact her”. This example shows how important both reputation and a growing community are in the digital era. Maldito Bulo has 95.000 followers on Twitter and 45.000 on Facebook. After gathering information about each and every hoax, there is still another filter to be passed before sharing it. All the team members of Maldito Bulo vote in whether the hoax is ready to be uncovered, or if it should be further investigated or

Masses of people listening to pro-independence politicians in a campaign event in 2015. ©Mick ter Reehorst.

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even dismissed. Only those with a majority of favorable votes are eventually shared with the community. Maldito Bulo has debunked hoaxes both from the pro-independence and pro-union sides alike. “It might be true that before the referendum date there were more hoaxes from the independentists, but afterwards the numbers are very similar”, states the programmer. Many people in Catalonia wonder where those hoaxes come from. Maldito Bulo has a hard time identifying the author of every hoax, as there is no print to follow once it has widely spread via WhatsApp. “The real problem is when people or even media spread them too, without double-checking”. Examples of both sides are the famous musician and now an independentist deputy Lluís Llach, who shared some hoaxes regarding the referendum, and the Assistant Commissioner of the Spanish Police Alfredo Perdiguero, who falsely claimed that an agent had died while he was working to stop the referendum. How do we avoid fake reports? As Maldito Bulo explains in their manual, you should never trust any piece of news that has no links, quotes without any specific date or sources are often plain lies. The platform also makes aware of the fact that a lot of media outlets have a proven record of spreading hoaxes. Facebook “also” created a guideline to keep people from being fooled by fake reports, ever since they were accused for their passivity regarding the spread of misleading stories — especially after the Trump versus Clinton and the Brexit campaigns. To begin with, they recommend to be always skeptical of shocking

End of campaign of Junts pel Sí, the main pro-independence coalition in Catalonia in 2015. © Mick ter Reehorst.

headlines, especially those written in caps and exclamation points. Double-check always the source, as “many false news sites mimic authentic news sources”, and disbelief stories without an author. Another very common suspicious treat is misspellings and grammatical mistakes.

“TH E MORE POLARI Z E D A TOPIC, TH E MORE E MOTIONAL PEOPLE GET”

Moreover, all news should be approached with critical thinking. Always “check the author’s sources” and look at other reports about the same topic. And last, but not least, don’t forget to check if it is not actually a piece of humor or satire from a parody news site. Facebook guidelines are, indeed, good tips to take into account. However, it has not proven effective enough, as it puts all the responsibility in the more than 1.6 billion of users of Mark Zuckerberg’s social media. And so, real measures such as flagging a viral piece of news as misleading, are yet to come.

Sergi Santiago, Spain Jordi Ribàs, Catalunya

santi justel,

Journalism professor in International University of Catalonia

Pictures are one of the key elements to determine the authenticity of a story. Many times, the chosen image is manipulated or taken out of context. An effective tool to detect their misuse, as Maldito Bulo is used to do, is Google’s reverse image search, with which they can easily and quickly be verified. 8


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PRINT, SOCIETY’S GUARDIAN AGAINST MISINFORMATION key players in the media industry state that print is the best medium that delivers factual news.

Media organisations that deliver news using a traditional print method, such as newspapers and magazines are, according to key players in the Maltese media industry, “the most credible in the eyes of society.” One of the main publishers emphasised on the importance of the traditional medium and the measures that were taken recently to combat its nemesis, the Internet.

According to the publisher, this move is ‘forcing’ readers back into buying traditional reading material, in mediums which the publishers themselves have a better control of the supply and royalty payouts. The same tone persists even in candid interviews carried out with several media personnel who, acknoweledged that even with the overall decline of print media, it ca still “hold a powerful and necessary component of both delivering information and advertising.” Furthermore, a working journalist of over 20 years, emphasized the clear, dominant factors that make

Moreover, misinformation or fake news is one of the biggest threats of today’s world. With the help of various social media platform’s such as Twitter and Facebook, society is bombarded with a berserk of information which often proves to be inaccurate. In return, this phenomenon is affecting the political sphere and political evolution of various countries such as Russia and the US, while also mounting on a big and serious challenge to the European Union. Therefore, according to the editors, print reassures credibility

“PRI NT IS OBVIOUSLY NOT DEAD. I N FACT, RECE NTLY, SEVE RAL POPU LAR I N DUSTRY PU BLICATIONS HAVE REGISTE RE D AN I NCREASE I N SALES” anonymous publisher, malta

“Print is obviously not dead. In fact, recently, several popular industry publications have registered an increase in sales.” The publisher added next to the increase in newspaper sales, numerous traditional bookstores have registered once again a profitable margin on many hardback and paperback material. Part of it, they noted, can be due to raised prices.

several people choose a traditional medium such as newspapers and magazines. According to him, tangibility is key to a lot of people, who refrain from reading through digital devices. In addition to that, he insisted that while advertising on magazines and newspapers can remain in households and offices for an extended period, advertising on the online portals is built on short virality. 9

in communicative information in a world where all published context can be misinterpreted as news. Things that can only exist and flourish online such as popups, overwhelming banner ads and spam, are still luckily non-existent in print journalism, he added.

Liam Carter, Malta


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THE BIRTH OF TRUTH: HOW PROGRAMMERS ARE FIGHTING MISLEADING INFORMATION towards media rapidly: “Because of clickbait, readers have lost their trust not only in particular news websites but also in media in general. When so many times we have been ‚dazed‘, ‚shocked‘, we have read about ‚nightmares‘ or ‚tragedies‘ that really do not match the real meaning of those words, it must not surprise anybody that we have stopped reacting to those ‚nightmares‘ or ‚tragedies‘. Usually when news is truly important, you do not have time to invent striking words so you just tend to write in the simplest way instead of looking for sensational angles.”

a day). My task was to find a way how to make it work again.‘ said K. Januškas.

Clickbait – black hole of online media

‚Suggest a Headline‘: is media capable of listening?

The great Irish writer Oscar Wilde once said: “The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.” – it seems, he was right. Clickbait headlines born in social media and appearing in various online websites are successfully adapting so called ‚curiosity gap‘ technique. It instantly captivates media users by creating lots of questions and promising the answer will be given in article. In reality such a cheap bait usually leads to fake news or disinformation.

However, instead of staying indifferent, Lithuanians have found their way to save time and prevent useless content. That is how the ‚Suggest a Headline‘ extension was born. Young programmer Karolis Januškas have has created an effective tool to combat clickbait headlines. Once users have installed ‚Suggest a Headline‘, they instantly became able to control news website content, in particular – headlines. They were able to strikethrough original headlines and propose their own. All changes were visible to all extension users.

A Lithuanian proverb says: “If God gave you teeth, he will give you bread as well” and ‚Suggest a Headline‘ showed internet users they can chew with it. That is why soon enough similar ideas have been born in other Lithuanian heads. Šarunas Barauskas, creator of ‚Heydit‘ a software application, decided to challenge fake news and fake headlines. “It was not a first try to create something. During

clickbait headlines are spreading

all over online media like a plague. there is no doubt about their efficiency towards media users but it also creates a long row of misunderstanding when readers expectations are not fulfilled. several young lithuanian programmers have decided to challenge media and created applications that lets the readers to create headlines themselves.

however one of possible weapons against disinformation and useless content might challenge authenticity of journalist creations.

Furthermore, online media readers eventually grows tired of searching for quality content and their behaviour towards certain media products becomes indifferent. Independent journalist from Lithuania working as a freelancer Grété Kaulinyté also supports the idea that clickbait headlines changes readers’ view

‚Suggest a Headline‘ for a short period of time seemed like panacea. For the first time websites were clean of unrealistic headlines. Until media giants got mad. “Later I was involved in cat and mouse fight with biggest websites. They wanted to damage extension by changing source text (sometimes several times 10

It was only a question of time until the extension was stopped completely. One day ‚Suggest a Headline‘ just vanished from the web. After letter threatening court action, K. Januškas has stopped the tool himself. “I do not know exactly why this has happened. Some websites declared that the extension is blocking advertisements, others complained about the copyright of journalists.” ‚Heydit‘: tool to combat all misleading information


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Although the operating principle of ‚Heydit‘ is similar to ‚Suggest a Headline‘, this tool is completely autonomous. ‚Heydit‘ users can change not only headlines but also the whole content of website, highlighting which facts were inaccurate or which stories were fake. After editing the application proposes to share it with others. “So far everything seems hard, lots of work. We need to understand what our users need, how should we communicate. At the end this initiative may turn out to be completely different than it is now.” – says Šarunas. He also adds that the main goal stays the same – help media to stay readable and save users from misleading information. “By creating poor quality content

journalists are not helping themselves. Everybody can enter the market – there is no need for serious research anymore, it seems everybody can write and readers becomes indifferent to all content they see.”

opinion but when I do something really professional, my main goal is to stay simple and informative.” says Evelina Stundžien, owner of ‚Food for Ears‘ (‚Maistas ausims‘) and ‚Evelina‘s kitchen‘ (‚Evelinos kuchnia‘) blogs.

Bloggers: why cannot we stay personal?

Another blogger Ilma Vienažindyé, owner of ‚Mahila‘ channel, highlights the necessity to stay honest to the reader. “I noticed that people feels more engaged to click on my articles when I quote something interesting when sharing it on Facebook. Of course sensational headlines could gain even more clicks, but if readers expectations could not be fulfilled, they would not come back to my blog afterwards.” She also supports the idea that usually over expressive headlines misrepresents articles’ message.

Does it mean only certain app users can gain their way to high quality content? There is always another solution. One of those – think creative. Media must stay dynamic and find a way to engage curiosity in an ethical and fair manner. Some of those creative solutions could be found in various blogs that nowadays are playing significant role forming media users perspective towards various topics. Well known Lithuanian bloggers are giving away their secret that is – stay personal and simple. “Typical headlines are not for me. I am not forgetting creativity and humour. From my personal blogger experience I realised that headline could reflect my own personal

© Magdalini Gkogkou

the US elections, the fake news concept became viral and we thought this problem was relevant in Lithuania as well. Our slogan is ‚ fight fake news & clickbait‘. In Lithuania problem of propaganda is very apparent and our tool lets combat all misleading information.” – said Š. Barauskas.

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In conclusion, media users dealing with huge amounts of information every day become more aware and educated than lots of commercial news website owners could possibly think. Clickbait is not serving its purpose anymore, on the contrary, it increases the gap between journalists and their audiences. Young people that are craving real information and real facts are searching for ways to challenge the media. Some of them are more controversial than others but they must not provoke fear of media accusations but inspire necessary changes and creative thinking.

Aistė Meidute, Lithuania


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FAR RIGHT IN THE MEDIA: NORMALISATION OR CONTESTATION? As radical right parties have risen across Europe they have been increasingly covered by journalists: Media makers focused on the lifestyle and the opinions of members of radical right parties giving them a center to express their agenda and problem definitions. But have journalists in this way contributed to the rise of those parties? Moreover, how should coverage of radical right parties look like? “Young, beautiful, educated and pro-Nazi”, that was the headline of an article presenting the leader of AfD, the German far right party, in Newsit, one of the biggest Greek media websites. We can find similar examples of an increasing coverage of lifestyle of the Greek neonazi party Golden Dawn in Greek mainstream media: Articles on how the daughter of Golden Dawn leader lost weight and changed her style or speculations whether Ilias Kasidiris, spokesman of the party, will get married soon. Aurelien Mondon, senior lecturer in French and comparative politics at University of Bath, in a series of articles, argued that the main problem with the media coverage of right-wing populist parties is that it is totally disproportionate and there is a fear by exaggerating their performance to legitimise and normalise them. But do media play a role in the recent rise of radical right parties? Nikos Panagiotou, professor at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, is clear: “Media contribute in the legitimization of the rhetoric and

the agenda of far right, including the far right agenda in the wider anti-establishment trend of the recent years”. The main theme researched by scholars of political and media studies is certainly the issue ownership. Many claim that media’s focus on issues like immigration and crime has benefited the radical right, especially when journalists or other politicians accept the problem definitions of the radical right. Nikos Xydakis, MP and parliamentary spokesman of SYRIZA in Greece, believes that

“YOU NG, BEAUTI FU L, E DUCATE D AN D PRO -NAZ I” Headline of an article presenting the leader of AfD. the construction of issue ownersip is the main way in which radical right parties win votes through media. If you are the one who determines the agenda on immigration, voters may think that they should vote for you to solve the problems created by immigration and the so-called refugee crisis. On the other hand, radical right parties don’t even have to be covered in a positive way: “The negative coverage can also have positive results as far right 12

politicians can argue that they are victims of elitist media who spread lies about them”, says Xydakis. It seems either way, radical right parties can make use of media coverage for themselves. Even the language media uses has an impact in the success of radical right parties. Thomas Siomos, journalist and PhD candidate in political sciences, finds there is a convergence in style between media and far right discourses. According to Xydakis, both discourses make use of simplification, polarization, provocative vocabulary, shouting instead of arguments, staged quarrels among others. Siomos says that media has prepared the public for the acceptance of extreme -previously excluded- views, then they focus on these parties creating an environment of “media interest” offering them publicity and presence in the public sphere. Even mainstream politicians are taking over this language, Siomos observes: “These years we can see politicians that adjust their rhetoric to extreme positions in order to gain the attention of the media”. How we can explain these changes in the media landscape? “The structure and the ownership of the media are essential”, says Edouard Gaudot, member of the editorial board of Green European Journal. He continues: “Media are profitdriven, they are not interested in the substance. In media terms, there are good clients and bad clients. They want to gather as much audience as possible and therefore they are looking for a boxing match, not for


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The 10 most popular far-right parties in the EU

26,5 % - Austria 21,3 % - France 21,1 % - Denmark 20,2 % - Hungary

Results from last parliamentary elections (except France: presidential)

17,7 % - Finland 13,1 % - NL 12,9 % - Sweden 12,6 % - Germany 7 % - EL

©Aubry Tourel

4,1 %

the news, participating in this way to the polarization of political life”. Finally, can media cover differently radical right parties? Opinions are split. Some scholars are in favor of a media cordon sanitaire. NIkos Xydakis and Edouard Gaudot disagree: Anyone who is part of the political life and participates in elections should take part in tv shows and public debates, says Gaudot. Otherwise, those parties could claim victimization. “We need arguments, research and analysis of the concepts and the arguments of far right in order to contest effectively their claims. The crucial point is how we discuss,

how we communicate our views. Political communication should be connected with the substance and stop being just a tool to win the impressions.” Xydakis states. Nikos Panagiotou shares the opinion that media can deal with far right parties and politicians. According to him they can do so by revealing their true face without demonisation, by imposing a strict control on hate speech and racist discourse, by condemning violence and by challenging conspiracy theories. Concluding, media might play a role in the rise of radical right parties but they are not the only or 13

the main reason for it. Such a view would not only be simplistic but it would also reduce the responsibility of voters themselves. Radical right is a very complex phenomenon and its relation with the mainstream media is only one of the dimensions that we have to examine in order to understand it. Antonis-Charalampos Galanopoulos, Greece


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THE LONG WAR AGAINST “FAKE NEWS” media literacy and teaching critical thinking are the only

long-term solutions in the fight against disinformation

Imagine you are a Finnish teacher from Turku. You enter class early in the morning and you see all those sleepy faces of your students. How do you shake them off their drowsiness? Maybe some grammar lessons, why not doing some quick calculus exercises? There’s a better way according to the Finnish company hundrED which developed the Triplet app for teachers who want to make their students more aware about the complicated world outside school. The principle is simple, yet ingenious. Every morning the teacher receives a selection of three news pieces, including articles and videos, alongside some ideas of how they can be presented to the students. In a very Finnish style, a discussion on the news topics commences, in which teachers and students approach the news in a critical manner. “We live in a world of information overflow. More and more content is produced and published every day. Media literacy is important not only for young people but to all of us”, says the company’s head of operations Lasse Leponiemi, adding that what children need to develop are basic media skills that stay for life: the ability to analyze and understand media content, verify trustworthy sources, distinguish opinions from analyzes etc. What started as a collaboration between the partnership with YLE, the National Broadcasting

Company of Finland, and the blossoming tech company, is now being used by more than 5000, or 22% of local K2 teachers and many more students around Finland, as negotiations with foreign clients currently taking place.

and commentators across the board. Whilst some use it to describe the torrent of malicious information spread by anonymous or propaganda groups, others say it when they want to undermine their opponents’ credibility. Finding out

“WE LIVE I N A WORLD OF I N FORMATION OVE RFLOW. MORE AN D MORE CONTE NT IS PRODUCE D AN D PU BLISH E D EVE RY DAY. M E DIA LITE RACY IS I M PORTANT NOT ON LY FOR YOU NG PEOPLE BUT TO ALL OF US” Company’s head of operations, Lasse Leponiemi

The larger problem of disinformation Triplet is just one of the platforms or teaching methods that are becoming integrated in school curriculums around Europe in order to develop children’s critical thinking at a time when uncertainty of what is real and what is not is exacerbated by technology. Recently “fake news” has become a favourite buzzword for politicians 14

what’s true and what is not really has become harder than ever, even for the most resourceful and smart companies - during the Las Vegas shooting, Google and Facebook found it hard to filter unproven rumours and conspiracy theories, which moved up their feeds due to their search algorithm principles. The combination between large quantities of conflicting information readers’ brains have to go through, our affinity to clickbait titles and the


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emotional need to share something first creates a volatile environment that may turn us into amplifiers of disinformation. “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire”, explains the process “The New Yorker” author Malcolm Gladwell in his eponymous book. Question is how to prevent this tipping point from even occurring, because there are definitely no good algorithms that can stop disinformation to spread devised so far. “Fact-checking and debunking untrue stories are shortterm solutions, but to effectively fight propaganda we also need long-term view, like the people in Finland”, said Jakub Kalensky from the StratCom, a counterpropaganda unit in the EU foreign service at EYMD 2017. “Ensuring that education is on top of the EU agenda and that journalism is top notch should be our greatest priority”, said Julie Ward British MEP at the conference. And this is already happening across the EU we just don’t hear about it as much as we need to. Adeu, “fake news” One of these platforms is the Catalan Nushu which combines a gaming-like storytelling, traditional media, and emerging technologies (such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality) to make current international affairs accessible for children aged 8 to 12. The main character is the alien Nushu who is lost on earth and tries to understand humanity.

It is developed by a team lead by journalist Eva Dominguez who has been considering the idea of making news interesting for children for the past 20 years.”I was working at a monthly magazine for children in Barcelona, when I fell in love with the idea of reporting for children, but I saw the need of creating a new language, closer to how kids play and interact”, says she. Back in the days the idea seemed too complicated to put in practice, but with the recent rapid tech advances this is not the case anymore. A couple of years ago Google recognizes Ms Dominguez’ idea and with an Innovation grant from the tech giant she starts her company. Now she and her team decide on an international current affair each week - be it a political, scientific or environmental - they turn it into a multiplatform visual experience with its own story and ways to emotionally engage students, regardless of the platform they use. “We believe that children are every bit as interested in the world around them and have as much right to information as adults”, says Ms Dominguez and adds that the team’s goal is to give children a magmatic time while they learn. “In a world where they are bombarded with all sorts of information from all sides, real and fake, turning the fact of being informed into an exciting challenge seems to us our greatest contribution to improving society”, concludes the Catalan journalist. Of course, there are longer running efforts to promote media literacy and one of the earliest proponents of this feat is Austria: Here, local media education has been around since 1973 and through 15

a recent decree the government has decided that it wants to “generate measures that critically and analytically integrate both the traditional mass media and the new media, particularly the Internet, into education.” To this end, in 2001 Renate Holubek co-establishes the Media Literacy Award. “We need schools that awaken curiosity, ask questions. Places of discussion and confrontation, where making mistakes is understood as a chance to learn and not as a flaw, where each child is individually challenged according to their abilities and where they have enough time to develop and learn in a team”, thinks the project’s leader. Every year hundreds of programs compete for the prize, with entries coming from outside Austria as well. And most of them are pretty interesting. Check the new winners later this week, as they are announced on Wednesday and if you are a teacher - consider applying them in your class. Students would love it.

Martin Dimitrov, Bulgaria


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THE FIGHT AGAINST DISINFORMATION ABOUT THE EU SPREAD BY RUSSIA in recent years russia has been very active in spreading disinformation about the eu and

specific eu countries and events,

especially before, during and after elections. is the european union doing enough to combat this

? this article provides valuable insights into eu’s fight against fake news and disinformation campaigns.

“We like to think about disinformation campaigns and fake news as a new, recent phenomenon, but fake news is not a new phenomenon”, Delphine Colard from the Press Service of the European Parliament says: “Instead what has happened, is that social media only increases the effect and

has been and still is very seriously using disinformation and fake news as a foreign policy tool to achieve their own interests. “We in the EP are trying to create mechanisms to identify this disinformation and fake news and to stop them”, he says. Jakub Kalenský from the East Stratcom task force agrees and elaborates this opinion. He goes even further, openly suggesting viewing the Russian state media not as media organizations, but as a clear extension of the Russian government and especially its military.

are very active in this. Nevertheless, there is only so much that the European parliament and other EU’s institutions can do. Roberts Zīle, MEP from Latvia insists that the powers of the European parliament are very limited in this area and Russian disinformation campaigns and fake news in general can and must be more targeted by national governments because they have much better means to counter the disinformation available to them. That is true, but also that might not be enough, especially in serious disinformation campaigns, as we have seen recently before the elections in France and Germany. What is the missing link here are pro-active journalists, editors, media organizations and media watchdogs, who are able to target disinformation and fake news before they spread to the general population and gain momentum.

© Iulian Bîrzoi

SO HOW TH E E U M E DIA RE PORTS ON CON FLICTS? Jakub Kalenský from the East Stratcom task force commenting on Russin dissinformation about the EU

spread of deliberate disinformation attempts and campaigns drastically, which is the reason why recently this has become such a global phenomenon.” Still, she stresses that fake news have to be taken very seriously. „Fake news is not only a lie and distorted news, it is deliberately fabricated news with the aim of manipulating the readers.” The EU’s Vice-President for Information Policy, Press and Citizens Relations, Ramón Luis Valcarel Siso highlights that Russia

“The Russian media is nothing else than a part of the Russian army”, he said in a panel discussion in the European parliament during the European Youth Media days, on Tuesday, 17th October. “They are working for the military purposes of Russia and nothing else”. There have been several different approaches how to tackle the issue from the EU’s point of view – several websites and projects have been created by the EU parliament and other EU’s institutions, also the members of European Parliament 16

There have been several of such success cases in recent years and, although we can expect the disinformation campaigns and tactics to evolve and change over time, the accumulated knowledge and insight of the EU’s institutions tackling this problem will definitely prove to be very useful for specific national governments, who will decide to be more engaged to tackle the issue of disinformation in their own country. And that will prove very useful for all of us, the citizens of the EU. Dåvids Zalåns, Latvia


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IMPATIENCE AND DISARRAY: THE CONTRASTED LIVES OF BRITISH MEPS While we all have good and bad days at work, few of us actively look forward to losing one, especially when it’s prestigious and well-paid. However, this is the paradoxical case of proBrexit Members of the European Parliament, whose seats will disappear at the 2019 election. In the Parliament corridors “Leavers” and “Remainers” take different views of their shared fate. “Good, the sooner the better. We should have been out long ago because we all voted for Brexit last year,” said UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) MEP Jonathan Bullock in his Brussels office. This newly-elected MEP’s opinion is not widely shared among his countrymen in Brussels. “Most of the British MEPs that I know were Remainers. Hence, no matter their political affiliation, some of them were extremely disappointed, and disillusioned at the prospect of losing their job at the next European election,” remembers Russ Melzer, Brexit Director at EurActive. “Some of

them even went back to stand for seats in the UK’s general election and are now at Westminster”, he added. “It is as though people have accepted Brexit already,” Labour MEP Catherine Stihler noted. She admitted that fewer constituents are getting in touch, new legislative work is less meaningful. Bitterness is, for some, inevitable, even more than a year after the referendum that triggered Brexit negotiations. “I believe the tone of debate since we joined the EU has led to us Europeanising failure and nationalising success which has played a role in influencing the debate,” Stihler said. In contrast, Mr Bullock thought the coverage “fair” in the run up to the referendum. “The coverage since then has been far too much Brexit X or despite Brexit Y,” he went on, adding that none of the Remainer side’s threats of economic doom have materialised.

For Bullock, the main problem with the EU is that it is becoming a “United States of Europe” that he doesn’t want to be part of. This, he said, was a “dilution of democracy” that saw power drawn from Westminster to Brussels and Strasbourg. “I was a councillor for eight years and I often just couldn’t get things done because I was told they were against EU directives. That’s not the way the British public wanted it to be,” he said. Although both sides have maintained their commitment to parliamentary work, Melzer notes: “No MEP will admit that they are looking for other opportunities and that they lack the devotion they previously had. If you know you are going to lose your job, you’re going to look for other opportunities, which is understandable.” But he was unable to say whether British MEPs’ diminishing enthusiasm for the European Parliament had led to lower attendance, adding that they will “perhaps not be as engaged” and that it was worth noting that “the average person in the street” will “have no idea” who their MEP is. “In the UK, the leavers see MEPs as Eurocrats with very good salaries who travel around the world,” he noted. Still, while others see them as just “collateral damage to this decision”, there are some colleagues who sympathise with them. Described as “very committed to his task” by his assistant, Mr Bullock is however looking forward “to going back to Brussels after 2019”. As a tourist.

© Helena Verheye

Kapil Summan, United Kingdom Noé Michalon, France

Jonathan Bullock, MEP, United Kingdom Independence Party

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PANEL

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A VOICE FOR THEMSELVES refugees living in the european countries have for long being underrepresented in the pubic sphere and portrayed in stereotypical ways in the media. two greek initiatives provide a platform for self-representation to teenager

refugees that just arrived in the country, as well as migrants living in greece for years. and by this they help to bring a domino of social changes.

When the massive influx of refugees coming to Greece started in 2015, the Greek state was in no way ready for it struggling with its own demons, continuous economical despair and social unrest among them. Back then, Fanis Kollias was still an economics student living in Athens, where he was also making his first steps in the media industry. He started helping on a voluntary basis through Refugees Welcome, a grassroots movement of people willing to aid the people from Syria and other war torn countries that were arriving in the capital in their hundreds.

videos, with its content published in Greek and English. “There are people who immigrated from other countries, that have already been living here for years now. So, when it comes to social inclusion, these people know better than anyone what should be done”, Kollias says. Nashrudin Nizhami is one of them. An Afghani that fled his country already years ago, following in large the same route as the refugees

When he won a scholarship, that would enable him to launch a social entrepreneurship project, he immediately knew how he would use that money. “The first thing refugees arriving in a country do, is to see how the other refugees and migrants are doing there”, he explains. “So, if these people are living in bad conditions, what are the refugees that just arrived in the country going to think of their own future? The worst”. That’s how Solomon, a digital media aiming to promote inclusion of minorities that are for long existing in the country, but underrepresented in the public sphere, was born. Solomon brings together migrants and locals through workshops on storytelling methods, and produces articles and 20

of today do, he didn’t hesitate to join Kollias, whom he met while also volunteering at Refugees Welcome, to the project. “Using media to let capable people make themselves visible seemed to me as a nice idea”, Nizhami says. “When it comes to refugees, media in Greece and Europe tend to always publish news with a negative focus. So we thought this is a chance to promote inclusion and to give us the chance to get to know each other better”.


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Approximately 47 people contribute to Solomon and they come from at least 15 countries: from Afghanistan to Russia and from Ethiopia to Greece. “After some point we stopped asking the people that were coming to our media workshops or who wanted to publish an article where they come from”, Kollias says. “It just doesn’t matter”, he adds. The same days that Kollias is attending media workshops in the

USA, seeking to gain experience that will be useful for the expansion of Solomon’s activities, Green MEP, Indrek Tarand, participated in a panel discussion during the European Youth Media Days 2017 in Brussels. Speaking in an audience constituted of 90 young journalists, coming from all the countries of the Union, he noted the urgency for media to claim back their role as the fourth power. “Media need to set the agenda, like they used to do some decades ago”, he said. “If not, the political class is going to be the one doing it”. Setting a different agenda was the thought behind Apodimitika Poulia, a newspaper that was started in camp Schisto, one of Greece’s biggest refugee camps six months ago. Run by the Network of Children’s Rights, also an idea of a young volunteer, it comes out every month with Efimerida ton Sintakton, one of the country’s leading newspapers.

© Magdalini Gkogkou

Apodimitika Poulia is created by refugee teenagers who write, take pictures, paint and edit, after holding their own editorial meetings. The articles are published in four languages: Greek, English,

Arabic and Farsi and they include autobiographical texts, poems, and interviews, with many of the contributors being young girls. Nizhami, who was interviewed in the last issue of the paper, finds the initiative useful: “I have been living in Greece for many years now and nothing like this has happened before. It is something very positive, and although they are not even adults they do some great work”. Some of the paper’s contributors are now relocated to Central European countries, where they teamed up with their families. They still, however, send their texts, describing the trips they had to go through to reach Europe, their moments in Greece and their hopes for a brighter future. In the meantime, either through Solomon or Apodimitika Poulia, refugees are claiming visibility and a voice for their own. “By focusing on the inclusion of the refugees that have been here for long, we also promote inclusion of the refugees that just arrived as well”, says Kollias. “And that brings a domino of social changes”.

Stavros Malichoudis Greece

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WE ENDED UP HERE, WHAT NOW? EXPLORING THE WAYS

TRUST CAN BE REGAINED IN THE MEDIA

in a divided media landscape that reflects the state of things in society and politics,

we need a way out from the crisis. examples from hungary and sweden offer possible solutions.

There’s a need for radical change to shake up the media landscape and orient it back to its origin and traditional purpose – to inform people in an honest and trustworthy way. Both Gergo Varga, a Hungarian activist, and Niels Funcke, a Swedish journalist, teacher and expert in freedom of speech, expressed their concerns about how the media landscape is shaped nowadays. Varga said that topics such as populism, fascism, xenophobia, “illiberal” democracy and fake news have gained a lot of attention among news outlets across the western world in the past ten years. “The rise of these issues resulted from populists’ capitalization on the idea that there is notrue, objective reality around us”, he explained. Instead, we’re using our beliefs and ideological biases to make sense of the state of the world. The populists have abandoned the idea of objective and factbased journalism, replacing it with polarising, scandalous and

often completely made up stories, Varga noted. He explained that it’s hard to overlook the effects of these changes, with growing mistrust in media either perceived as too elitist or simply fake, the crisis of democratic values and participation, and political elites shaping their messages according to the present situation, rather than upholding their views and ideas. This phenomenon is noticeable in Sweden, too. A far-right party, The Swedish Democrats, are now boycotting some media houses that, according to the party, don’t portray them in an objective way. The increasing mistrust of the media is something that ought to be taken seriously, Funcke argued. “Media has to stop saying that we are the ones you should trust, act like it instead,make sure you deserve that trust”, he said. “There is really just one alternative; you would have to go back to the old fashion way. The Media can and should not avoid a topic simply because it becomes politically inconvenient,but illustrate and explain all courses of society,” Funcke noted. In comparison, Varga suggested two ideas on how the current situation could be changed to a more sober and social landscape, where verified information would dominate over the discourse 22

and media would not exploit the sensational or irrational themes. Even if the debate fails to bring results, it’s a beginning, he added. Instead of offering a compelling counter-narrative to propagandist calls for intolerance and hate, media could help to change the tide. Various European countries will have that opportunity with the upcoming elections. If the Media could cover the rise of Nazi and fascist movements in a smart way, it would be a turning point for many of the reluctant citizens.


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“TH E RISE OF TH ESE ISSU ES R E S U LT E D F R O M P O P U L I ST S ’ C A P I TA L I Z AT I O N O N T H E I D E A T H AT T H E R E I S N O T R U E , O B J E CT I V E R E A L I T Y A R O U N D U S ”, , gergo varga a hungarian activist

© Damian Gromala

According to Funcke, improving media literacy should be left to the universities and the publishers. The journalists are responsible for building back their reputation and finding their ways to access audiences that left them.

Secondly, Varga referred to the recent hacks against the media systems. He suggests buying posts and advertisements in channels that these audiences prefer, populating feeds with more versative messages. “It’s a way of utilising the system that is broken and keeps media in a vicious circle. It’s easy to complain about the state of things, yet to really demand better media landscape and quality news, the economic realities have to be changed dramatically,” he explained.

It’s an uneven battle where journalists deal with monopolists buying their outlets, while social media platforms with billions of users could promote any material earns them an extra dollar, even if it visibly violates terms and conditions of the service and could cause a nuclear war,he stated. It’s a slippery slope for normalizing hate speech, Varga pointed out - it earns money, and becomes free advertisement. Readers are merely a product, sold for their data, and victims of a broken system, he said.

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One way to get there is to embrace the democratic principle of letting people speak their minds, and make sure that diverse ideas are equally represented.It’s important to expose readers to ideas and let them deal with alternatives, enable a rich debate. Instead of silencing one group, the real victory lies in refuting the statements and false facts, before they start shaping the wider population, he added.

Barbara Majsa, Sweden Natalia Skoczylas, Poland Lisa Alexison, Sweden


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PEACE OF OUR MIND: EU JOURNALISM TO LIGHT UP CONFLICT COVERAGE?

SO HOW TH E E U M E DIA RE PORTS ON CON FLICTS?

Faced with atrocities and the horror of wars, journalist more often than not leave their positions of neutral commentators. In fear of being discredited as immoral, fellow journalist are inclined to reduce political and historical complexities to Hollywood-style blockbusters. These battles of Good against Evil include a lot of stereotyping, the use of historical analogies and manipulation of facts and figures. Where attempts of critical reflection and challenges of how

© Flore De Pauw

94 in sub-Saharan Africa, 54 in the Americas, 123 in Asia and Oceania, 69 in the Middle East and Maghreb, but also 62 in Europe. According to The Conflict Barometer, published by The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK), in 2017 there were 402 wars in the world. 38 of high intensity - one of them in Europe, 188 of medium and 176 of low. But while (maybe) all eyes have been on the Syrian conflict, which started in 2011, many other countries have reached a point of serious humanitarian crises as well.

the media cover conflicts are seen as politically incorrect, they might be missing out on a chance to be a more positive force. It starts by acknowledging the role of media producers in conflicts, because news agencies are not simply creating news and images on what happens in the Middle East and elsewhere: journalists are, more than ever before, involved in creating narratives and setting political agendas on remote events they know rather little about. As a possible solution, the concept of peace journalism came as an antagonism to war journalism by Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung, founder of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) in 1959. According to him, the key is to use conflict analysis and transformation to update the 24

concept of balance, fairness and accuracy in reporting. Peace journalism is usually misunderstood as a reporter preaching for peace, while its aim is to provide a new road map tracing the connections between journalists, their sources, the stories they cover and the consequences of their reporting – the ethics of journalistic intervention. It opens up a literacy of non-violence and creativity as applied to the practical job of everyday reporting. “Peace Journalism makes audible and visible subjugated aspects of reality,” Galtung states. What do the Members of the European Parliament think about the EU media coverage of conflicts and peace journalism?


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Ward advocates for a “coconstruction of journalism” between the reporter and the people who are living the conflict in first person. Not only fighters or victims, but all the actors involved. From photo documentation to revalorization of

first person chronicles, Ward points examples of “alternative narratives” doable both by freelancers who report from the field at their own risk and major media outlets supporting pure journalism, like The Guardian. Even some experimental projects are contributing to explore different points of view. For example, the Child Press Centre let children write their stories and create videos, asking the adults about topics that concern themselves.

According to Christophe Leclercq, the founder of the pan-European news website Euractiv, “the question is whether EU focused media are writing stories more EU focused. We have looked to examples like Euractiv, the independent pan-European media network specialised in EU policies. European integration itself is peace-driven, and while it’s geographically-focused, it’s already quite a step for most journalists on our continent”, he says.

From another spectrum of the EP, Indrek Tarand, Estonian MEP from the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, recognises that he has never heard about peace journalism, though he passionately positions himself in favour of slowread journalism, data reporting and fact checking, as an opposite of fast clickbait journalism whose source is social media. “We need reporters who report facts. Look at Twitter. Who is Twitter’s master? Donald Trump. Is Twitter contributing to peace?”, he asks.

Since the focus of Euractiv is on the EU, when it comes to conflicts the platform also reports more about those the ones that affect state members, which are “thankfully just political or about the alleged absence of EU democracy, or wearied legislation. As for wars outside of the EU, fighting them is not the EU’s forte, hence also not Euractiv’s. But both the Union and media in their own ways are soft powers: in the long run, truth, values... and economics always bring people away from violence”, Leclercq stated. It doesn’t matter if they are within the Schengen space or not, the philosophy is the same: “It is about explaining realities beyond prejudices”. Therefore Leclercq considers Euractiv as a ‘peace media’ and with that aim he encourages other European media makers to promote independent peace oriented journalism.

© Flore De Pauw

Julie Ward, MEP for the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, has been involved in a call for the release of imprisoned Tatar leaders and activists, including the journalist Mykola Semena. Ward supports the aim for a more conflict-solving oriented journalism: “Peace journalism is a fantastic idea. We spend a lot of time talking about defending peace, post conflict reconciliation and conflict prevention in the Parliament”. The MEP should be even more concerned on how the media coverage shapes people’s mind on conflicts and therefore the prospects of resolution that are contemplated.

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Irene Benedicto, Spain Uros Mamic, Serbia Elisa Bertoli, Italy


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CHANGING FACES OF VIOLENCE IN MEDIA media and the ways to represent violence have changed dramatically during the past

years. journalists are facing new kind of problems when it comes to covering violence and terrorism.

Twenty years ago both the United Kingdom and Spain were suffering vast terrorist attacks committed by IRA and ETA respectively. Meanwhile, a young Sarah White was growing up between those two countries and, like most of society, remembers those events thanks to the media – and only to the media. “I remember that when a terrorist attack from IRA or ETA took place, all my family turned on the tv or the radio to get informed, as there was not another way”, White says. Though terrorism has changed, so has done media – and Sarah. Twenty years later of those early memories, White has become a reporter in Thomson Reuters, and two months ago had the chance to cover a terrorist attack herself for the first time - the Barcelona one. But she was ready. “Everything changed with the attacks that took place in Paris on 13th November 2015 […]. So we were ready for a potential attack in Spain and when we saw the vehicle attacked we thought ‘this is it’”, White says. In spite of the preparation, there are still challenges to cover terrorism in the Internet age. Namely, social media pose great pressure to not fail when publishing images that have been uploaded by citizens. Major newsrooms like Thomson

Reuters are taking into account this fact and are investing specialized professionals. “Now there is a team within the multimedia department that is in charge to verify all the videos and images that arrive from different online sources such as social media. They contact directly with the people that have uploaded the content to verify it ask them permission to use it” White states. Beyond the veracity of the images, there are ethical implications when it comes to showing certain images of victims of terrorism. In the case of the Barcelona attack, most major Spanish outlets had on their front pages images of dead bodies on the ground, but there are other ways to inform and at the same time to respect victims’ privacy. A good example would be the Nice attack of 14th july 2016. While the attack itself has similarities with the one in Barcelona, some French national outlets chose to publish covers with symbolic pictures of the event such as the truck used to commit the attack. As per this ethic take on audiovisual content, journalists should also be aware of the importance of being rigorous and cautious when publishing information. The Barcelona attack was a good example of it, as White explains: “At some point every outlet published the name of the terrorist, but we do not have to publish the name that quickly as it does not add much more information to the story. We did not trust in that information because no media 26

told what the source was, so after discussing it so much we decided not to publish it. Finally the actual name was another one and all media were wrong – it was his brother.”

“I RE M E M BE R THAT WH E N A TE RRORIST ATTACK FROM I RA OR ETA TOOK PLACE, ALL MY FAM I LY TU RN E D ON TH E TV OR TH E RADIO TO GET I N FORM E D, AS TH E RE WAS NOT ANOTH E R WAY” sarah white, journalist reporter for thomson reuters

While the media sources have multiplied and publishing news has became quicker than ever, these cases with false information has become part of the everyday struggle of the news media. Most easily these mistakes happen while reporting on terrorist attacks. Mostly it is unclear what has actually happened and police has no time to verify all the information that media get.


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the ”sword-man” who attacked in Turku. Actually, the indistinct video was about the guys who tried to protect victims and chased the attacker with baseball bats.

© Jan Indra

The sword-man case was a flop not just because it gave a wrong image about the attack in Turku and how many attackers were involved but also because it made the media seem untrustful when it comes to cover this kind of attacks.

Making videos and editing photos is easier than ever before and that makes the media’s work even more difficult when it comes to fact checking. Journalists cannot trust the material which is spreading in social media or coming from the readers, because the audiovisual material can include false information or even roughly edited content.

During the attack of Turku 18 th August 2017, there were some pictures and videos that readers sent to media. Unfortunately one of the most followed media in Finland, Iltalehti, published one of the reader’s videos without checking the content properly. Probably because of the rush to be first to publish the videos from the attack. In the news, Iltalehti claimed it to be a video of 27

Of course, in every job people sometimes make mistakes but in the case of media, all the mistakes are public and they may affect a reader’s picture of the reality. Journalists have a great responsibility when it comes to cover violence and terroristic attacks and even the words journalists choose to use can affect to the whole picture reader’s have about the attack. That is why calling attacks to be terrorism before it is confirmed by authorities can be harmful. Also publishing uncertain information about names of suspects is harmful if they are later announced to be innocent. Misinformation can stay in the reader’s minds even if the media correct the facts afterwards.

Víctor Nauzet Hernández Spain Aino Vasankari Finland


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QUICK QUESTIONS FOR THREE BUSY CORRESPONDENTS

we asked three journalists from denmark three questions about what it’s like working as a correspondent in

Brussels.

Nilas Heinskou Nilas Heinskou is young. He’s new in Brussels. He’s deeply interested in the EU, Brexit and the refugee and migrant crisis. And he’s very busy when we reach him.

Okay. You arrived in Brussels recently. What’s it like being a journalist here compared to Denmark? - In Denmark there’s a celebrity factor. The political profiles and the ministers generate interest. In the EU on the other hand, the politicians are relatively unknown with a few exceptions. They get way less exposure because we’re so few correspondents in Brussels. And to the readers, the problems in Denmark seem closer even though the things down here also affect them a lot.

bit to get through with the more complicated issues. Much of it is a question of avoiding the language that the EU uses, so everyone can understand it. What do you like about being a journalist in Brussels? - The cool thing about being a journalist here is that you’re allowed to get into the nerdy subjects. I love reading reports and making them available for a broader audience. And I can talk to some of the most knowledgeable people in the world. I find that fascinating.

How do you make EU legislation relevant for the readers back home then? - Well, we hardly do. It’s a huge challenge that important things generally are so hard to communicate in a way that’s interesting for other people than just the geeks. If it’s about sex and scandals then people are obviously interested. But you got to fight a 28

© Jyllands-Posten

- I’m on my way to a press briefing. But I got time to talk to you while I’m walking.

© Politiken

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© Maren Häußermann

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How are you trying to make EU relevant to the readers?

Jakob Langvad Jakob Langvad is one of the most experienced Danish correspondents in Brussels. He’s freelancing for radio and newspapers. In fifteen minutes he’s going to a conference, but he agrees to meet us at a café before that.

Martin Kaae Martin Kaae has 10 years of experience as a journalist at the Danish parliament, Christiansborg. Recently, he accepted a new job. He’s the sole correspondent in Brussels from one of Denmark’s largest newspapers, so there’s plenty of work to do for him. We manage to talk to him while he’s on his way home. How is Brussels different from Christiansborg?

You have been a correspondent in Brussels for 24 years. What has changed during that period? The biggest thing is the internet. And the fact that there isn’t as much money in the media world any more. Today, there’s half as many Danish correspondents in Brussels compared to when I started.

On Christiansborg I had colleagues around me who I could discuss my stories with. Here, I’m more independent. It’s to a large extend my own responsibility to assess whether a story is good or not. At the same time, the complexity increases compared to national politics, and so does the number of agents and the amount of subjects. What are the good things about being a correspondent in Brussels? It’s a larger playing field. This morning for instance, I was writing a portrait of the guy who’s leading in the Czech polls. Last Sunday 29

I don’t know if you always manage to do that. Unless you’re a cheater and write about bendy bananas and so on. You do what you can to make the conflicts relevant to the reader. However, I’m not forcing the Danish angles. What do you like about being a correspondent in Brussels? When you see Brussels from the outside, there’s a lot of process, there’s proposals that take a long time, and the conflicts aren’t always clear. That being said, there’s always something new happening. Take Brexit as an example. There’s no model, no manual for how they are going to handle that. Just one short article.

I had a large article about the situation in Ukraine. Later this week, I’m going to a summit about how the European leaders will handle Brexit. It’s some larger topics. How do you make the EU interesting to the Danish readers? I’m searching for Danish angles and Danish examples. For example: what’s happening in Denmark and how’s the EU regulating based on that. And then I try to select the stories that are relevant in a Danish context.

William Leerbeck Meyer, Denmark


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EYMD MAGAZINE

the eymd magazine is an official publication of european youth media days and a special edition of orange magazine an official publication of european youth press. european youth media days is organised by european youth press together with european parliament.

Get updates on latest opportunities: @EYMD youthmediadays

www.youthmediadays.eu www.orangemagazine.eu

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EYMD MAGAZINE #EYMD

EYMD 2017 PRINT TEAM

William L. Meyer Denmark

Aino Vasankari

Noé Michalon

Stavros Malichoudis Greece

Elisa Bertoli

Kapil Summan

Dāvids Zalāns Latvia

Aistė Meidutė Lithuania

Liam Carter Malta

Jordi Ribas Ustrell

Natalia Skoczylas

Sergi Santiago

Irene Escajedo

Spain

Spain

Victor Sanchez

Barbara Majsa

Lisa Axelsson

Sophie Rebmann Germany

Antonis Galanopoulos Greece

Scotland

Catalunya

Uros Mamic Serbia

Martin Dimitrov Bulgaria

France

Poland

Spain

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Hungary

Finland

Italy

Sweden


32 ©Anna Klein

European Youth Media Days 2017 Special Edition  

Modernising media – literacy, challenges and opportunities: European Youth Media Days 2017 from 16 – 18 October 2017 in Brussels. Innovative...

European Youth Media Days 2017 Special Edition  

Modernising media – literacy, challenges and opportunities: European Youth Media Days 2017 from 16 – 18 October 2017 in Brussels. Innovative...

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