ZAGREB, October 4, 2020 (Hina) — This month Croatia will open a Museum of Fake News. In its first phase it will operate as a website. It will provide testimonies from journalists and scientists and a database of fake news. In addition, it will offer tools for promoting media literacy, critical thinking and for recognizing and fighting against fake news.
Lordan Prelog, a former journalist and editor and now PhD student at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, initiated he project. He explained that the project also contributes to the global fight against disinformation. He added that disinformation is a big threat to democracy and the development of open societies.
According to Prelog, the most efficient way to fight against fake news is to further develop quality, responsible fact-based journalism. Raising public awareness of the dangers and spread of fake news is also key.
He explained that the Museum of Fake News is the result of years of work at the Institute for New Media and E-democracy (InMed). This is the only Croatian association that is a member of the Social Observatory for Disinformation and Social Media Analysis (SOMA). SOMA is one of the leading networks of institutions dealing with detecting fake news and models of its dissemination.
Term ‘Disinformation’ More Precise Than ‘Fake News’ Popularized by Trump
The definition of fake news involves deliberately creating and sharing fake and/or manipulated news with the intent to mislead the public. It also aims to do harm for political or personal reasons or for material gain, Prelog pointed out.
He plans to gather as much testimonies as possible from well-known journalists and media experts from Croatia and worldwide, who have encountered disinformation in their work.
According to the former journalist and editor, the term “disinformation” is much more precise than the neologism “fake news”. The latter became popular after the 2016 US presidential election by US President Donald Trump. Trump is well-known worldwide for his false claims, conspiracy theories and vulgar insults.
The Museum of Fake News is not a commercial project. In its initial phase, it will consist of a website. All interested members of the public, especially young people, will be able to obtain information on the phenomenon of disinformation in Croatia and the world, he explained.
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He added that disinformation had a much greater reach than regular news. In addition, he warned that there was no quick and effective strategy in the fight against fake news.
“There is no simple solution, and it is necessary to work on developing citizens’ critical thinking. Practicing professional, and above all, ethical journalism can help restore trust in the media and state institutions. Of course, developing media literacy across society is also key,” Prelog pointed out.