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European Environment Initiative (EURENI)

Funding Call
Two young people in front of a mountain panorama hold an EU flag

2024 EU elections and disinformation: Putting the right facts forward while getting ready for debunking fake news

Grantee

European Environmental Bureau (EEB)

Project partners

  • WWF European Policy Office
  • CAN Europe
  • BirdLife Europe & Central Asia
  • Transport & Environment

Duration

ongoing

2023-12-01 till 2024-11-30

Location

Belgium, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain; europewide

Funding Amount

144,800.00 €

Project background

In the contemporary digital landscape, disinformation poses a severe threat to democratic foundations globally, impacting societies, economies, and political systems. The rise of 'fake news' and sophisticated disinformation campaigns, employing advanced technologies, has disrupted elections and political unity. This trend is particularly pronounced in both established and emerging democracies, where governments and non-state actors use algorithms and artificial intelligence to spread intentional misinformation.

The European Union (EU) is not immune either. Mentioned trends foreshadow challenges for the upcoming 2024 European elections. Aggressive disinformation campaigns target, among others, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society movements to undermine their credibility. NGOs working on environmental issues such as clean air, water provision, climate change, and sustainable agriculture are not exempt from this, hindering their effectiveness. Existing counter-disinformation efforts lack a coordinated, data-driven approach, necessitating a comprehensive strategy.

Disinformation is further an enormous challenge for citizens with low political awareness, especially among non-voters lacking information on the EU's functions and its positive impacts.

In response, an initiative emerges to present accurate scientific facts early in the electoral term, leveraging existing channels and activities of NGO’s and youth movements. This proactive approach aims to counter disinformation, particularly in the face of targeted undermining strategies by anti-democratic movements. Addressing information asymmetries and biased interpretations becomes crucial in navigating the complex landscape, ensuring a well-informed electorate and the protection of democratic values.

Project goals and measures

The project aims to address disinformation challenges ahead of the 2024 European Parliament elections, striving for a robust mobilization of informed voters and science-based commitments from Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The primary objectives include increasing awareness among EU citizens of the EU's role and democratic values. To this end, it will offer easily understandable information about the EU’s impact on everyone’s daily life to people across six countries (France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Poland, and Netherlands) through online visuals and stories. The project will conduct workshops to combat disinformation, translate materials to different member states languages, and utilize social media for wider outreach.

Establishing strategic partnerships with youth movement organizations is pivotal, involving workshops, coordinated exchange, and targeted dissemination to encourage young citizens' participation and voting. Simultaneously, combating disinformation on EU's functions and its impacts includes empowering the participating NGOs as well as their communication staff through coordinated training sessions and common messaging strategies.

This multifaceted approach strives to ensure the integrity of the electoral process, combat disinformation, and foster a more informed and engaged electorate for the European Parliament elections in 2024.