Project START2THINK is dedicated to strengthening media literacy and building European citizens’ resilience to disinformation. Its aim is to alert Internet users to possible disinformation activities, narratives and techniques, as well as to ‘vaccinate’ them against future dangers, enhancing their critical thinking skills, as well as people-to-people and institutional cross-border cooperation in the field of countering disinformation and building societies’ resilience, so important during the current very difficult times with the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing and lockdown in many countries.
On the project website, readers can find definitions, useful fact-checking tools, interviews with critical thinkers, that means journalists, analysts, researches, NGOs workers etc. engaged in fighting disinformation. A special tool kit elaborated jointly with experts with a simple set of concrete and comprehensive rules addressed to internet users helps to raise awareness about the danger of receiving and propagating disinformation, promote the use of fact-checking services and strengthen critical thinking skills. Start2think.info also includes an online library with analysis, reports, handbooks, summaries of expert debates, guides, opinions and articles describing disinformation activities/narratives/techniques commonly used by malicious actors to create, distribute and amplify disinformation, as well as exploring the use of methods to study false viral news. An important part of the project are the meetings of an established network of experts, researchers, analysts etc., who exchange their practices, hints and recommendations on how to fact-check and distinguish between facts and fakes, during regular online brainstorming sessions.
Tailored scripts for lessons and webinars elaborated in the framework of the project enable teachers to conduct on-line classes in critical thinking on the basis of ready-made scenarios, filling the gap created by the lack of such materials. They are based upon concrete instances of disinformation, both country specific, and universal. An engaging social media campaign on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, helps to promote the project’s mission as well as the site itself, and also encourages social media users to report possible instances of disinformation.
The project is implemented by institutions from four EU countries: the Centre for International Relations ( the project leader) from Poland, European Projects Association from Belgium, Informo from Croatia and the civic resilience center Res Publica from Lithuania with the support of the European Union. Based on their unique experiences, the project partners have worked closely together to jointly elaborate the project and its deliverables. This includes the content of the website and publication, a standardized approach to data collection and presentation, the methodological assumptions of scripts for teachers, additional ideas for promotion in social media, and so on. The partners also addressed possible problems together, sharing their expertise and know-how. At the same time, they have been building a network of organisations and people dealing with media literacy and disinformation in their countries.
The Centre for International Relations (CIR) is an independent, nonpartisan think tank, an influential forum for foreign policy analysis and debate, involving leading politicians, diplomats, civil servants, local government officials, businessmen, journalists, students and representatives of other NGOs. CIR’s mission is to be actively involved in projects related to current challenges to regional security – information war, hybrid war and cyber security being one of them.
The European Projects Association is a politically independent nonprofit organisation focused on research and development, innovation and internationalization of good practices in European projects. The use of innovative information and communication technologies is a distinctive characteristic of this cooperation network dedicated to supporting European projects’ stakeholders.
INFORMO is a civil society non-profit organisation particularly focusing on education. Its main activities are aimed at having an impact on territorial, business, professional and personal development. Since its establishment in 2004, Informo has gained valuable experience in organising and delivering training and workshops, as well as in contributing to the development and internationalization of local, regional and national projects, through participation in European and international partnerships.
Civic resilience center Res Publica is non-profit organisation permanently monitoring disinformation campaigns, fake news stories and hostile propaganda against democracy using cutting edge technology and data analytics systems as well as supporting and coordinating international volunteers’ groups (elves) involved in digital resilience.
You can find more information about Start2Think on our website here.
Program Director, Centre for International Relations