24 March 2021

New Fund for Media and Information

European Fund established to build resilience against online disinformation

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the European University Institute create the European Media and Information Fund that will support digital literacy projects to fight disinformation across all the European countries (including EU, EFTA and the United Kingdom).

This project places the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the European University Institute (EUI) at the centre of the efforts made to answer the challenges of the digital era which have already posed several threats to democracy. The spread of disinformation generates a need for efficient answers that can lead to identifying the techniques, agents and vectors that cause this dissemination.

This Fund will attribute grants to researchers, non-profit organizations and other entities committed to fighting disinformation and provide support to the development of initiatives related to fact checking and digital literacy. It will also award individual grants to young students, academics and researchers working in these fields.

The Fund is open to contributions from other parties and will be run in a completely independent manner. An annual report will be made and presented both to the public and to those who have contributed to the fund.

The strategical thinking behind this partnership assigned the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO), School of Transnational Governance (EUI), the academic and ethical aspects of the project, as well as the evaluation of the projects, whereas the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation will oversee its administrative and financial side. Last year, both organizations had already signed a memorandum to establish a cooperation in areas of common interest.

European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová said: “I welcome the creation of this innovative fund that brings together various stakeholders to support media literacy and fact checking initiatives against disinformation. I have no doubts that we need all-hands-on-board approach including a collaboration of private and public entities to address the threat of disinformation. I fully endorse strong safeguards that will guarantee the independence of the fund and I encourage private donors to participate in it. The Commission will continue to work closely with EDMO and support its objectives.”

Isabel Mota, President of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation reacted: “It is with deep satisfaction and high expectations about the results of this project that the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation joins forces with the European University Institute to create this European Fund that promotes digital literacy avoiding new forms of social exclusion and helps fighting disinformation and fake news, the late threats to fundamental values like democracy and human rights.”

Professor Renaud Dehousse, President of the European University Institute said: “Online disinformation is one of the great societal challenges of our time. The European University Institute is proud to be associated to the European Media and Information Fund, which will be a crucial tool to better understand and address the phenomenon. This will be done through the rigorous research and knowledge-sharing that constitute the Institute’s raison d’être.”

Besides this European Fund, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has also been managing, since 2013, the funds attributed to Portugal for civil participation in the context of EEA Grants, an initiative led by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to reduce social and economic disparities in Europe.

 

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