Reflecting on EU Information & Disinformation

By Luciano MORGANTI

In this issue of our newsletter we have interviewed Mr Luciano MORGANTI, trainer of the online course on EU Fact Checking & EU Fact Finding. Are we near the end of fake news? How can we easily access EU information? Do not miss the answers below!

Do you think the fake news will grow in the upcoming years?

Yes, unfortunately I do. Fake news and disinformation will neither stop nor slow-down in the upcoming years. On the contrary, they risk growing exponentially with all the dangerous repercussions for our democracies. This is an issue that makes me really worried as in order to make critical decisions resulting from informed and rational debates we need to base ourselves on facts and not on lies.

 Why do you think it is key to be able to navigate the EU and EU-related websites?

The EU has become an essential part of our life. Many of the important policies that concern our daily life are today discussed in Brussels by Members of the European Parliament, representatives of our national governments, civil servants of the European Commissions and, of course, through the European Economic and Social Committee, and the Committee of the Regions, representatives of employers and employees and civil society and regional and local authorities.

The EU also offers a lot of opportunities in terms of programmes and actions aimed at helping and bettering the life of workers, citizens, consumers, students, researchers, etc. Especially in the context of rising fake news and disinformation campaigns, it is important, not only for the specialists and those working in the “EU bubble”, but for every European citizen, to be able to look for information directly to the sources and without intermediation. Of course, the level of detail varies between the specialist and the citizen. The specialist is probably looking for selected aspects, actors or the legal background of a specific law in the making (European regulation or directive for example), or for the person that is in charge of a specific programme at the European Commission, some tiny statistics that s/he can use in a report due next month for example. The European citizen might want to look at the aim of a specific policy to understand what the role of the EU is and why it was needed to act at European level and not at national or local level. Alternatively, s/he might simply want to understand what the institutions and their responsibilities are or to understand what the EU is doing for the consumer, etc.

I am sure, as I am doing these workshops since at least a couple of decades now, that many that never tried to look for EU information themselves will be surprised by how easy it is to find the info they need and how accessible and easy to understand it is. I am also sure that many that are very confident about the fact that they know how to find the info they need and are sure they know all about a given topic will be surprised by how many things are out there, at the end of their fingertips and screen, that they did not have any idea about.

If you could give only one advice to people consulting EU and EU-related websites on a regular basis, what would it be?

Don not get trapped into your habits, the Server Europa is changing very, very regularly and new databases, services, and pages are created and published very often. Do not feel happy with what you know already, try to explore, and always question and challenge your knowledge of the existing information sources!

What is, from your point of view, the main added value of this course implemented in an online format?

As you can imagine, due to the COVID emergency, in the last moths, as a professor and as a trainer for executives, I have been experiencing and practising with online courses and with remote teaching a lot. Once the necessary and needed thinking has gone into it and you have been able to experiment with different tools and platforms, in other words, once the courses and workshops you teach have been fine-tuned for the online environment, then you start to see that doing courses online can also be an opportunity.

The distance and the time you need to go to a place to follow a course is not an issue anymore. Many that, for different reasons, could not join you physically, now can. This opens the workshop to a lot of new professionals and stakeholders that before could not join because they were not in Bruges, Brussels or close by.

Participants start to use the tool we offer them and this gives them immediately the confidence they usually get towards the end of the workshop.

Also do not forget that while participants learn the “subtle art” of EU Fact Finding, via an online remote course they also acquire and perfect the competences needed to get the best out of our digital tools and instruments. Many become proficient not only in EU Fact Finding but also get more confident in using the tools they have to run a video conference or simply collaborate at a distance. 

 

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