Multidisciplinary regional hub dedicated to identifying, analysing
and countering disinformation in Romania🇷🇴 and Bulgaria🇧🇬
10th of May 2023 - we've launched the BROD platform: brodhub.eu/ro
What exactly is BROD?
A transnational community of fact-checkers, experts in media literacy and countering disinformation, researchers, technology, and software providers united by a common goal: understanding and analysing disinformation. BROD facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration and brings together experts from the two countries to investigate the mechanisms of disinformation: sources, networks, main vectors of spread, methods, potential victims and the effects of disinformation on society.
Started by 11 organisations from 5 countries, BROD is one of 14 national and regional hubs of European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO), an independent observatory created in 2020 and funded by the European Union, which works to identify disinformation, neutralise sources and minimise negative impact.
Who is BROD meant for?
BROD aims to be an educational hub for two target audiences. First, we reach out to journalists and educators with training and educational materials to help them strengthen their resilience to misinformation and improve their media skills and knowledge. Secondly, we support people likely to face disinformation: teenagers, young adults, and older people in Romania and Bulgaria, i.e. citizens less accustomed to the dangers of the online environment.
What does BROD precisely do?
- It provides researchers and fact-checkers in Romania and Bulgaria with an online database of verifications, debunks, public data from national authorities, and research and educational materials.
- It creates and publishes fact-checks in the two countries through local partners. For Romania, fact-checks will be created by AFP and Factual.
- It publishes research on disinformation trends, narratives, campaigns and impact on the populations of Romania and Bulgaria.
- It organises courses and training in media literacy and fact-checking but will also create other educational materials on resilience to disinformation, media and digital skills.
- It supports independent journalism, which is essential towards ensuring institutions' transparency and inclusive democratic debate and transparency. Journalists will be able to follow different pieces of training on fact-checking and will be able to exchange experiences within recurring events.
- Monitors the implementation and compliance with The Code of Practice on Disinformation and organises events and debates on policies to combat disinformation.
What role does the Funky team have?
Funky Citizens participates in the creation of fact-checks on topics of public interest in Romania through the project Factual. In addition, the team coordinates media literacy activities in the two countries and contributes with research to the BROD database.
More information on BROD
Romanians and Bulgarians are the populations most susceptible to conspiracies and disinformation in Central and Eastern Europe, according to 2020 and 2021 reports by two of BROD's members, GLOBSEC and Vitosha Research. The reports found that anti-EU and anti-NATO disinformation is rampant in both countries. Common disinformation narratives typically focus on an ethnic minority group, representatives of a country or nation that are ideologically or geographically distant, or a group located at the other end of society's ideological, social, or financial spectrum. In addition, the Balkan region has a small number of fact-checkers compared to other parts of Europe. The situation is aggravated by the low level of actions taken by online platforms to reduce misinformation in Bulgarian and Romanian and to provide appropriate analysis tools for these languages.
- Building a Romanian-Bulgarian research hub of the digital medium.
- Identifying, analysing and pointing out harmful disinformation campaigns in Bulgaria, Romania and at the EU level and measuring their impact on society and democracy. Collaboration with national authorities to monitor the policies of online platforms and the digital media ecosystem.
- Communicating towards the general public and collaborating with citizens, journalists, media, political decision-makers, NGOs and businesses.
- Ensuring the sustainability of fact-checking activities in Bulgaria and Romania, a continuous media literacy program and sustainable cooperation with national authorities and regulators.
- Researching at least 12 disinformation campaigns in the two countries and involvement in joint activities with the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO).
- 700 fact-checks created by hub members and another 400 generated by affiliates across the region on topics relevant today.
- Analysing the impact of disinformation on the populations of Romania and Bulgaria through opinion polls and focus groups,as well as monitoring the media sector in the two countries.
- Creation of a dashboard and a public database for researchers, journalists and media specialists containing: factual data from public authorities, fact-checks from the two countries, and debunks; the implementation of 4 disinformation analysis tools in Romanian and Bulgarian on the EDMO platform.
- Implementation of a multilingual public platform with useful information on disinformation, media literacy and fact-checks for the general public.
- Creating fact-checking and media literacy training sessions for 5 stakeholder categories, implementing 5 media campaigns and generating 40 educational media materials.
- Debate and cooperate with legislators and regulators through 3 virtual roundtables; collaborate with independent media outlets and other EDMO hubs.
- Monitoring the implementation of the Code of Practice (CoP) and producing 3 activity reportsand on-demand research on disinformation.
Budget and partners
BROD is financed through the Digital Europe Programme and has a total budget of EUR 1.498.393 from the European Union.
- GATE Institute (Bulgaria) - coordinator
- Școala Națională de Studii Politice și Administrative (SNSPA) – Romania
- Centrul pentru Jurnalism Independent (CJI) – Romania
- XWIKI SOFTWARE – Romania
- GLOBSEC – Slovakia
- Agence France Presse (AFP)
- Athens Technology Center – Greece
- Bulgarian National Television – Bulgaria
- Vitosha Research EOOD – Bulgaria
- Sirma AI EAD (ONTOTEXT) – Bulgaria
- National Training Center – Bulgaria
30 months, from the 1st of December 2022 to the 31st of May 2025.
The contents of this website are the sole responsibility of Funky Citizens and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the European Union.