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Fake News in Focus

Fake news is one of the most discussed phenomena in politics. Traditional media, the papers and big TV channels, have lost their careful, fact-checked dominance in an age of Twitter trolls, angry bloggers and far-right Youtube videos – or so goes the argument. Distortions of the truth and lies have been blamed for recent political upsets such as the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit referendum. But fake news’s significance to these results is not universally accepted and political forces on the left, right, and centre have all been caught falling for and peddling fake news.

It is not just a question of accurate information. The fake news debate touches on the key political questions facing societies: the erosion of democracy; social, geographic and educational inequalities; the collapse of the political centre; foreign influence in domestic politics; and the power of technology. Though fake news has a long heritage spanning back millennia, it is hard to deny that something strange is happening to way we consume information.

To help guide you through the messy story of Macedonian bloggers and ever-changing algorithms, we have put together a broad selection of articles on fake news. With analysis spanning 13 countries as well the view from the EU, this focus hones in on the topic through the lens of media industry trends, government capture of the once-free press, the quest for a technical fix online, and much more.

1. Turned upside down: Fake news and the future of the media

An interview with Aidan White, founder and president of the Ethical Journalism Network, on the challenges facing traditional media today.


2. Fake news in Visegrad: overused and underestimated

An illustration representing populism: a monster emerging from a ballot box
Journalist Maryia Sadouskaya-Komlach zooms in on the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia covering everything from hybrid warfare to media literacy.


3. Media in Chains: Lights, Camera, Capture

Media expert Krisztian Simon analyses the shift from outright government censorship to ownership and influence in Eastern Europe.


4. Turkey: Elections in a Fake News Climate

Turkey-based journalist Beatrice White on the media climate and partisan manipulation of the fake news narrative ahead of the elections on June 24.


5. Fighting ‘Fake News’ and Data Misuse In the EU – A Missed Opportunity?

An interview with privacy and human rights campaigner Fanny Hidvegi on the EU’s struggle to get to grips with online platforms.


6. Green Observatory: Fake News

Illustration: three monkeys sitting in a row

10 experts, activists and politicians on the fake news debate in their country and the political solutions put forward by progressives.



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