4th International Event in Lithuania

Social Survey Report. and Methodical Tool Presentation

1/1/20254 min read

The 4th and final international conference of the CERV project, "Democracy over Disinformation," was convened online on 6th of February, 2024, uniting partners from Unique Projects (Lithuania), Einzigartige Projekte (Germany), and CEIPES (Italy). The conference spanned approximately three hours and was attended by 115 participants (61 from Lithuania, 25 from Italy and 29 from Germany), reflecting a collaborative effort to address the challenges posed by disinformation.

Conference's agenda:
11:15 – 11:30 Opening of the event, speech by the organizers, presentation of the project
11:30 – 13:00 Presentation of partners from Germany, presentation of the results of the project survey research report

13:00 – 13:10 Break
13:10 – 14:00 Presentation of partners from Italy, presentation of methodological tool developed during the project. Testing the methodological tool in practice
14:00 – 14:10 Question and answer session
14:10 – 14:20 Giving participants feedback about the event (filling in questionnaires remotely). Closing of the event.

Conference proceedings:

Firstly, the representative of the Unique Projects association presented projects partners, the project and its objectives: to raise awareness about disinformation and fake news, promote intersectional cooperation, and create a network of partnerships. The presentation also covered all the activities carried out during the project, which included three international conferences in Kaunas (Lithuania), Palermo (Italy), and Berlin (Germany), each addressing different aspects of disinformation and media literacy. The first international conference on November 22, 2022, in Kaunas featured a broader project presentation and a session with a journalist training on media literacy skills. The second conference, held on February 24, 2023, in Palermo, presented analyses on misinformation and fake news, reflections on journalism within the digital world and discussions on how the perception of the migrant phenomenon has been altered over the years, with input from journalists, media professionals, and professors. The initial third International conference was planned and arranged on 24th of June, 2023 in Berlin, Germany where also partners meeting took place. However, as the initial conference didn’t attract enough attention and participants/citizens, it was repeated on 31st of October, 2023 in Potsdam, Germany. In these conferences, a social survey research report, a methodological tool prototype were showcased, and included training on media literacy skills, combining theoretical input with non-formal group work, focusing on errors.

Later, conference was followed by a presentation from a representative of the organization from Germany – Einzigartige Projekte e.V., which consisted of an in-depth analysis of citizens' opinions on disinformation and its impact on democratic participation. The survey, conducted across several partner countries, involved 426 participants and explored their media consumption habits, ability to identify disinformation, and the effects of fake news on their engagement in democratic processes. The respondents, primarily citizens from Lithuania, Germany, Italy, and other EU countries, ranged in age from 13 to 66 and came from various backgrounds and educational levels. The gender distribution among the respondents was 59% female, 38% male, and 3% non-binary. The nationality distribution included 167 from Italy, 139 from Lithuania, 61 from Germany, and 59 from other EU countries. Educational levels varied, with 1% having no formal education, 34% having completed high school, 6% having vocational education, and 60% having a Bachelor's degree or higher. The research presented encouraging trends in media literacy, with respondents rating their skills at an average of 4 out of 5, indicating a relatively high level of self-perceived competence. The research also pointed to demographic variations in responses to different sections of the questionnaire, underscoring the complex nature of media literacy across various groups. Importantly, a majority of participants reported checking the source of information at least occasionally, and more than half could specify methods to verify the credibility of information. 

Finally, a representative from the Italian organization CEIPES presented the methodological tool, developed through a collaborative effort by Unique Projects (Lithuania), Einzigartige Projekte (Germany), and CEIPES (Italy). It was also shown how to use the tool in practice. The tool is accessible for everyone and can be found: https://mooc.ceipes.org/course/d-o-d-democracy-over-disinformation-methodical-tool/ in four different languages: English, Lithuanian, Italian, and German.

This tool, finalized and showcased at the final 4th remote international conference, aims primarily to enhance media literacy among local citizens. It enables them to effectively identify and combat disinformation. Furthermore, the tool serves a broader objective: equipping citizens across all European countries with the necessary knowledge to understand and navigate the complex landscape of fake news and media disinformation. Achieving this through a combination of theoretical insights and practical applications, the tool offers concrete examples and exercises designed to deepen users' understanding of these issues. This collaborative effort represents a significant advancement in the fight against disinformation, providing a comprehensive resource for individuals looking to enhance their media literacy skills.

Participants’ feedback:

The evaluation forms from the final "Democracy over Disinformation" conference reveal positive participants’ feedback. A majority reported satisfaction with the conference, noted increased capability in checking information sources, and felt more equipped to recognize fake news. Participants appreciated the practical strategies provided for combating disinformation in both personal and professional contexts. The diversity of perspectives and expertise presented was well-received. Many attendees expressed a newfound motivation to engage in discussions about democracy and disinformation and would recommend the conference to others, reflecting the event's overall success and impact.