How prepared is the EU population to deal with disinformation? This was the question guiding a European project organized by eTwinning, an online educational platform connecting hundreds of thousands of teachers across Europe. The project was developed in partnership with the European Parliament Ambassador School (EPAS) programme, a network of secondary and vocational schools across the European Union raising awareness of European parliamentary democracy and European citizenship values.
More than 100 students from 50 different schools in Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain, Slovenia and the Netherlands were asked to carry out research on the role of the media in relation to democracy, investigating how Europeans use digital platforms, consume news, and deal with the disinformation problem. They investigated the media landscape in many European countries, examining issues related to media regulation, politics, and freedom of press.
EDMO Ireland media literacy coordinator Ricardo Castellini da Silva was invited to participate in the final online session whereby students, divided into 12 teams, presented their research. Ricardo provided feedback to students on their work and discussed the many issues involved in the fight against disinformation in Europe, including the role of the EDMO hubs across the 27 EU member states. According to him, students showed a great awareness of the many problems associated with disinformation, especially the ones that pose a threat to European democratic values and the safety of the population.
Students were also asked to give their opinion about the regulation of digital platforms, and according to Ricardo this was a very fruitful conversation with many interesting points being raised by the participants. The project showed the importance of engaging young people and providing a safe space for critical awareness and deliberation on digital media issues.