“The Challenge of Disinformation” An ACT Open Workshop
On November 18th, the ACT English Department hosted an open workshop titled “The Challenge of Disinformation” that aimed to expose students to contemporary topics outside the traditional classroom material, such as the pitfalls involved in digital communication. These risks include fake news, distorted information, and purposely false reports.
Dr. Eleni Godi, Coordinator of the ACT BA in English, invited the following presenters: Nikos S. Panagiotou, Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Media Communications, Aristotle University, and Head of Digital Communication Network Global, and Yannis Kotsifos, Journalist, Chair of the European Center for Press and Media Freedom, Director General of the Journalists’ Union of Macedonia and Thrace (ESIEMTH) and its Cultural Foundation, and ACT Journalism instructor.
Nikos S. Panagiotou
The two guests presented the Digital Communication Network, a multi-field coalition forming this continent-spanning network that engages a wide range of participants to tap into the best talent, ideas, and resources to combat disinformation. The organization and its branch, DCN Southeastern Europe Hub, headquartered in Thessaloniki, provides space, tools, and expertise in order to improve the digital and media formats, as well as build resilience to disinformation, in southeast Europe. The goal is to encourage new, independent voices, well-equipped technologically and socially aware, and also generate products, services, and content that cannot be created unless putting minds, creativity, and skills together.
Mr. Kotsifos explained the concepts of disinformation, mal information, and misinformation, how and why they are spread across social media and mainstream news outlets, and the differences between countries, while Professor Panagiotou introduced the “Fake News Hunters”, a volunteer research team from Greece and Romania. The team was formed by the Digital Communication Southeast Europe (DCN SEE) Hub, Forum Apulum and Peace Journalism Lab, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The research team started its work in March 2020, during the lockdown period in both countries, to highlight fake news distributed through social media. Greece and Romania share many similarities in the public domain, including the political systems and the public communication sphere as members of the EU and the Southeast European region.
Both guests invited all interested parties who wish to contribute to this initiative to contact them. The workshop itself, as well as the call for future collaboration, are part of a signed agreement between ACT and DCN to work together in activities and initiatives pertaining to the topics presented in the workshop.