Developing Community Media to Mitigate the Impact of Fake News

Are you concerned about fake news? The Flash Eurobarometer on Fake News and Online Disinformation shows that 83% of Europeans believe it to be a threat to democracy. Because of this a consortium of 7 European partners have teamed up to build a revolutionary community media framework. The aim is to equip local communities with all the knowledge, skills and competences to develop, manage and maintain a comprehensive media service for local residents.

Make no mistake ‘fake news’ is a real issue. It is a proven technique that far-right and far-left media outlets, radical groups like ISIS and populist movements use to push their political and social agendas. It is not being spread sporadically by individuals, it is a highly sophisticated global mechanism that has been designed to use the internet and media channels to wage information warfare. Although the concept of propaganda is well established the difference now is the pervasiveness, its widespread accessibility and the capacity of even small groups to wage significant media campaigns with limited resources. For example, the use of Instagram, WhatsApp and YouTube by ‘anti-vaccination’ groups to publish ‘fake news’ content in the UK saw a tripling of the cases of measles in 2018, as parents, influenced by ‘fake news’, chose not to vaccinate their children.

Investing in community media had been proven to enrich democratic processes, encourage community cohesion and increase civic engagement of all cohorts of society. As such, WIRES-CROSSED aims to harness the potential of available digital and social media platforms to give a voice back to local communities and to promote community cohesion in tackling the ‘fake news’ epidemic.

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