Between 7-11 June, the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) brought together more than 50 speakers and 500 participants to celebrate its first annual conference, EDMO Week: United Against Online Disinformation. The event gathered a wide range of stakeholders jointly working to tackle online disinformation, including academics, fact-checkers, regulatory authorities, online platforms, civil society, media literacy experts and the policy sector.
The EDMO Week provided a platform to present the initiatives undertaken by EDMO in its first year of activity, to stimulate a multidisciplinary discussion among stakeholders on issues related to online disinformation, and to showcase the ‘EDMO Hubs’. EDMO’s key areas of activity inspired the focus of the various sessions, which also included questions from the audience.
EDMO acts as an independent platform that brings stakeholders together and operates as a body of facts, evidence and tools. Hence, the first day explored the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach with a comprehensive approach to the different actors, initiatives, disciplines and tools involved in dealing with online disinformation.
The second day focused on the role and opportunities for collaboration between fact checkers, with a particular focus on COVID-19 related online disinformation. The key role of research in understanding and combating the phenomenon, as well as developing evidence-based responses animated the third day of EDMO Week. It also featured a discussion on efforts to establish a framework for accessing data from online platforms for research purposes. The day ended with a keynote speech by European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová, who underlined the threat to our democracy posed by online disinformation, pointed out that the way the EU responds is based on fundamental rights and values enshrined in the Treaties, and stressed the importance of an independent platform like EDMO.
The fourth day was devoted to the EU policy on countering online disinformation and represented, among others, an opportunity to present and discuss about the new EC guidance on Strengthening the Code of Practice on Disinformation.
The fifth and last day started with a debate on the role and challenges of media literacy, including the measurement of Media and Information Literacy initiatives and the role of policy in this field. On the same day, the projects of the newly selected EDMO hubs were publicly presented for the first time. The eight hubs that joined the EDMO Network cover 12 EU Members States plus Norway. The aim is to eventually reach full coverage of the EU and EEA. The EDMO hubs are foreseen to take up their work in September/October 2021.
The EDMO week was also the occasion for two informal morning conversations. The two side events focused respectively on the key role of cooperation among fact-checkers and on the challenges and proposals for a methodology to assess the Code of Practice and its impact.
The EDMO week was a valuable opportunity to engage relevant stakeholders in the debate on combating online disinformation. It also provided a forum to gather valuable insights, suggestions, proposals and recommendations. As result of the debate, a report will be drafted and published on the EDMO website.
The recordings of the sessions of the EDMO week are available at the following link.
Paula Gori, Secretary-General, EDMO