A New Fact-checking Project Helps Journalists and Scientists

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Increasing trust in the media and in science by creating better and more in-depth content is the main goal of the project “Science and Journalism: Together Against Infodemic”, which started in October. The organizations that will work together on it are the Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria (AEJ-Bulgaria), Norsensus Mediaforum, Thracian University, Center for Plant Systems Biology and Biotechnology (CRSBB), Association for Career Development and Training (ACRO). The role of each of the partners is to contribute with their capacity to form a joint team which will conduct trainings and will work on verification of facts. The initiative is implemented with financial support of 91190 EUR provided by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Financial Mechanism.

The project is focused on the close cooperation between journalists and scientists. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that the media have serious difficulties in covering scientific topics. One of the main reasons for this is the transformation that the media sector is going through, such as the layoffs that have forced journalists to cover all possible topics without any in-depth knowledge specialization. On the other hand, most scholars fail to present the topics they work on in a way that is understandable to the media and to a wider audience. All this opens a large field for pseudoscience and disinformation, which have disastrous consequences for society.

That is why the partner organizations in the project plan a series of mutual trainings and joint work on fact-checking. The aim is to build a sustainable model of relations between the various participants in the project so that they can easily continue the mutually beneficial cooperation after the end of the current collaboration. This partnership will produce publications for the first fact-checking platform in Bulgaria – Factcheck.bg. An online database of scientific experts will be set up as well and  journalists will be able to refer to it when they need a specialized comment. The project implementation period is 24 months and the kick-off meeting of the partners took place on November 15th.

This announcement was created with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund of Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. The entire responsibility for the content of the document belongs to  AEJ-Bulgaria and under no circumstances it reflects the official opinion of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Operator of the Active Citizens Fund Bulgaria.