Collective Actions to Mobilize Civil Society against Disinformation in Central and Eastern Europe
What is the Digital Activism Program?
It is a regional initiative aimed at increasing civil society’s resilience against disinformation through new research and insights, enhanced organizational capacity of NGOs, and building connections with other organizations facing the same phenomenon. The project is part of a more extensive program initiated by the TechSoup Global Network, an international support network for civil society organizations. It is implemented by TechSoup Europe, with Funky Citizens and other local partners.
The project's mission is to create a strong network of non-governmental organizations and representatives of civil society equipped with the technology, tools, knowledge, and skills to identify and combat the dangers of misinformation in participating countries: Romania, the Republic of Moldova, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Who is the program aimed at?
Through this project, we support organizations and civil society representatives on the front line of the fight against disinformation. On one hand, we work with organizations and individuals whose activity is directly affected by disinformation campaigns: journalists and media professionals, fact-checkers, educators, health professionals, or human-rights organizations. On the other hand, we also support organizations serving vulnerable communities frequently targeted by disinformation campaigns: migrants and refugees, minorities, LGBTQI+ communities, or other groups.
What specific activities are included in the Digital Activism Program?
- Research on disinformation in the countries and regions involved in the project to identify potential dangers and urgent needs of civil society.
- Support civil society through disinformation countering kits, including helpful information, methodologies, tools, and technologies.
- Implementation of interactive workshops on disinformation countering for target audiences in participating countries.
- Implement a capacity-building and resilience accelerator for NGOs in participating countries; Provide specialized training and workshops, individual consultations, and access to technologies to make their work easier and safer.
- Creation of a regional network of diverse civil society representatives to combat disinformation, facilitate joint learning actions, experience sharing, identification, and neutralization of disinformation.
- Facilitate collective actions or concrete local actions to combat disinformation in general and propaganda regarding the invasion of Ukraine in particular.
- Implementing a regional event focused on the dangers of disinformation in Central and Eastern Europe.
Funky Citizens' role in the program
Funky Citizens is the local partner for all project activities aimed at or carried out in the Black Sea region, namely Romania, the Republic of Moldova, and Bulgaria. In short, the Funky team is involved in all project stages. It is responsible for almost everything that happens locally, from research on disinformation at country and regional levels to organizing local and regional events, workshops, training, and local/collective actions involving organizations in the Black Sea region.
More information about the Digital Activism Program
In recent years, the effects of disinformation online and in the real world have become increasingly visible. Disinformation weakens democracy, polarizes society, manipulates elections, and creates a societal climate of suspicion and lack of trust. Although there are many initiatives to counter disinformation, current tactics focus more on the actions of journalists and fact-checkers. These usually ignore the broader civil society, which can generate visible changes at the societal level.
- Facilitate actions to combat disinformation against vulnerable groups through a network of civil society representatives able to identify disinformation on current issues.
- Increase the resilience to disinformation and the response capacity of organizations working with vulnerable groups; create a community that fights against disinformation.
- Implement concrete medium and long-term actions to combat disinformation, including disinformation related to the invasion of Ukraine.
- Develop a sustainable support network that will continue to share information and respond to emerging disinformation campaigns.
- Produce 12 country reports and 4 regional reports on disinformation: dangers, sources, trends, and quarterly updates, to provide an overview of the phenomenon's scale.
- Create capacity-building strategies for 60 non-governmental organizations.
- Organise at least 1-3 practical and interactive workshops per country/region to increase awareness of the dangers of disinformation and inspire counter-actions.
- Organise 6 national or regional events to present the capacity accelerator for NGOs.
- Organise a series of local or regional events for civil society representatives whose work is affected by disinformation, focusing on identifying and countering it.
- Implement 96 training sessions dedicated to 60 NGOs to help them increase their resilience to the threats of disinformation campaigns.
- Provide 2.160 hours of individual consultations with experts and mentors for 60 NGOs to increase their capacity to communicate sensitive issues.
- Approximately 60 NGOs helped to access various tools and technologies to streamline their internal processes, external communication, and disinformation recognition skills.
- At least 8 network-generated collective actions to counter disinformation, with some potentially financed via mini-grants.
- At least 8 follow-up meetings of local civil society representatives to assess future potential dangers and to exchange information and learnings.
- Facilitate approximately 72 local actions to combat disinformation and support vulnerable local communities; organize an event showcasing the results of the most effective actions.
- Organise two regional events on disinformation, including topics related to the invasion of Ukraine.
- Launch at least 3 campaigns or collective actions that address the issue of disinformation and propaganda related to the invasion of Ukraine.
- Generate informative content for organizations facing or fighting disinformation. Support an international learning community, promoting the fight against disinformation and exchanging best practices for 100 civic society representatives.
Funding and partners
Activities coordinated by Funky Citizens in Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova are financed through a USD 253.542 grant offered by the US State Department and financially supported through a USD 390.000 budget by Google.org.
- TechSoup Europe – CEE coordinator and local partner for Poland
- Baltic Center for Media Excellence (BCME) and Civic Resilience Initiative (CRI) for Lithuania, Letonia and Estonia
- Funky Citizens for Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova
- Metamorphosis Foundation in Northern Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo
- Nonprofit Információs és Oktató Központ (NIOK -) in Hungary
- Partners for Democratic Change Slovakia (PDCS) in Slovakia
- VIA Association in The Czech Republic
The project will take place over two years, from the 1st of October 2022 until the 30th of September 2024.
With funding from
With funding from
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