On 1 October 2019, the Commission launched the first call for tenders for the creation of the European Digital Media Observatory. The call for tenders of up to €2.5 million is the first real step towards the implementation of a European hub to fight disinformation online. The European Digital Media Observatory will allow fact-checkers and academic researchers, to bring together their efforts and actively collaborate with media organisations and media literacy experts. The platform will provide media practitioners, teachers and citizens with information and material aimed at increasing awareness, building resilience to online disinformation and supporting media literacy campaigns.
The observatory will help design a framework to ensure secure access to platforms’ data for academic researchers working to better understand disinformation.
The call for tenders will be open until 16 December 2019.
The creation of the Observatory is one of the elements in the Commission’s detailed action plan on fighting disinformation, published on 5 December 2018. The plan aims to reinforce capabilities and strengthen cooperation between member states and the EU in four key areas: improve detection, coordinate responses, work with online platforms and industry, raise awareness and empower citizens to respond to disinformation online.
Specifically, in the area of awareness and citizens’ empowerment, the plan foresees concrete actions to help fact checkers and researchers in their fight understanding and discovering the sources of disinformation. The Commission committed to finance a digital platform which will network together independent national multidisciplinary teams, and this call for tenders is a direct implementation of the commitment made in the action plan.
To implement the three other areas of actions, the EU has:
- Increased the budget and power of the Strategic Communication Task Forces and the EU Hybrid Fusion Cell in the European External Action Service (EEAS);
- developed a Rapid Alert System to better co-ordinate common responses, and;
- worked effectively with online platforms to implement the commitments of the Code of Practice against Disinformation.