Pre-bunking disinformation about migration in the EU: forecasting and media literacy as pre-emptive strategies?

Online Roundtable Discussion, Wednesday, 9 June 2021

This is a closed-door event.

This was the first online roundtable in the framework of the project “Pre-bunking disinformation about migration”, organised by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the European Policy Centre. The project builds on the 2020 joint FEPS-FES-EPC project “Disinformation about migration in the EU: promoting alternative narratives” and the 2019 EPC-FES project “EU communications on migration: perspectives and strategies”.

This new project looks into ways to counteract disinformation and hostile narratives about migration through pre-emptive strategies: not debunking, but prebunking false narratives before they gain traction. The first component of this approach would centre on the idea of ‘early detection’ to monitor, identify and effectively pre-empt disinformation narratives about migration. The second component would seek to strengthen societal resilience in the long-term, through media literacy and other education campaigns (such as digital, data and information literacy), drawing on the monitoring insights to address the specific challenges raised by disinformation about migration.

In this first roundtable, the project’s core proposals were presented and discussed. This event brought together EU actors and national authorities, civil society organisations, academics, and experts in communication, disinformation and migration. Questions that were examined include:

  • What would be the added value of prebunking in relation to current strategies to counter disinformation about migration?
  • Can disinformation narratives about migration be foreseen by means of strategic ‘forecasting’ or ‘foresight’?
  • What would be the technological and political obstacles to the realisation of an early detection system for disinformation about migration?
  • What type(s) of literacy and education are needed to prevent the spread of disinformation about migration and further polarisation of the discourse?
  • What is the role of the EU institutions in developing and supporting the implementation of media, digital, data and information literacy programmes?


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