Thirteen projects have succeeded in the first year of the T-Mobile grant call “Pomáháme” dedicated to information and media literacy. Successful organizations focus on education in various regions of the Czech Republic or on detecting fake news and fight misinformation. Educational institutions for new programs and established organizations such as Demagog.cz, Manipulatori.cz or Transparency International received support. Among the successful grantists is a group of professionals from the advertising industry or an association of documentary filmmakers who want to devote their talent and experience to fake news fight. Each applicant could receive up to CZK 200,000, a total sum of CZK 2,133,500 was distributed. Not only non-profit and organizations receiving contributions from the state budget, but also local communities and informal groups could apply.
T-Mobile has launched a grant call in fake news for the first time. “We wanted to map the situation and see what is happening in fake news this year. We expected a few applications and eventually there were more than seventy. Even if we could not support all applicants, we are pleased there is a number of activities that helps people critically evaluate information and recognize the truth from the lie,” commented Martina Kemrová, T-Mobile Corporate Communications Manager. The day of projects presentation itself confirmed that meeting of organizations with the same goal helps to connect various experts with enthusiasts in the regions.
A quarter of the Czech population has low media literacy, according to STEM/MARK research agency survey for Czech Television. The most vulnerable group of people subjected to disinformation are seniors and people with lower education. This is confirmed by further research of Palacký University Olomouc and Seznam.cz. 47% of respondents over the age of 65 - four times more than younger generation - spread e-mails that warn from alleged danger, such as migration or Islam, whether the truth or not. “There is no doubt that this is a serious topic. However, the topic of fake news is just becoming a part of social responsibility. It is important that there is a company which decided to take the topic,” a member of the grants commission Bob Kartous from EDUin added.
Nationwide reach, from children to seniors
The T-Mobile Pomáháme grant call has allocated funds for projects for children and students as well as for seniors across the country. The “Lepší senior” endowment fund organizes 50 lectures for seniors a year, The Regional Library in Karlovy Vary prepares an escape game inspired by media literacy education, in Ústí nad Labem, Brno and Prague students will learn to uncover methods of manipulation in documentary work (My Street Films project). “Klub Aktiv” has prepared a series of courses for students and seniors in South Bohemia region and “Prostor Pro” from Hradec Králové will prepare a methodology for a special workshop on critical thinking for the 8th and 9th classes. Students of journalism from the “Faketicky” Association will travel with their seminars to Central Bohemia Region and beyond the borders of their region. The “Orbi Pontes” lectures on fake news for the hearing impaired received special attention. Organizations that have been dealing with the phenomenon of fake news for years, such as Demagog.cz, Manipulatori.cz or Transparency International, received support as well. For a complete list of projects and allocated funds, see below.
The grantists are obliged to implement their projects within a year. Since 2005, through grant calls T-Mobile has supported more than a thousand applications with amount of almost CZK 68 million and cooperates with the “ Nadace Via” foundation on administration of all applications.
Successful projects (in alphabetical order):
Antidezinformační hnutí (Prague)
The association of advertising agency teams wants to use their campaign management experience to fight disinformation sites.
Aplikace pro online výuku v oblasti mediální gramotnosti (Prague)
The traditional disinformation fighter, Demagog.cz (which is purely volunteer), will use its fact-checking experience to develop an application that should help practice media literacy and information issues, hoax recognition. It will be addressed to individuals and schools.
CrashFAKE! Interaktivní hra pro studenty (Karlovy Vary Region)
The Regional Library in Karlovy Vary prepares a media literacy workshop inspired by escape games, which will test the knowledge of secondary school students in verifying information and finding resources. During the following year they will verify the game with students from Karlovy Vary Region and subsequently provide the methodology for use in other libraries.
Důvěřuj, ale prověřuj – kritické myšlení nejen pro seniory (Czech Republic)
The „Lepší senior“ Foundation has already organized 50 lectures on media caution. Interest is great, not only among seniors. This year he plans another 30 lectures.
Faketicky (Central Bohemia Region)
A group of young journalists and journalism students seek to regain public confidence in the journalist profession. Within a few months, 1,500 students have been trained at 40 schools in Central Bohemia, and at workshops of critical thinking and information verification. This year they want to go beyond the borders of their region.
Immune Enhanced (Prague, Brno, Teplice, České Budějovice)
„Transparency International ČR“ created a educational online publication for teenagers, where in ten short inserts (in a format widely accepted by this group) respectable experts in a “youtube” form represent the most dangerous negative phenomena associated with online information sharing. Josef Šlerka talks about info-laundering, Jan Tvrdoň about fake news, Lukáš Houdek and Kateřina Richterová talk about hate speech on networks. The videos will now be accompanied by other sources and during November all eight experts will go to Prague, Brno, Teplice and České Budějovice to discuss with high school students and their teachers.
Internetem bezpečně a rozumem proti fake news (Karlovy Vary Region)
Cybercrime Investigator Roman Kohout is known for giving lectures on online security, and is currently preparing a series of lectures on hoaxes and fake news for children in primary and secondary schools, seniors and children in orphanages and SOS villages in the Karlovy Vary Region.
Média v měnícím se světě (Prague, Brno, Plzeň, Kolín, Olomouc, Most)
„Skautský institut“ monthly organizes discussions with interesting media guests for young adults and university students. This year he will focus on topics such as the ethical code of journalists, hoaxes and the role of the media in a democratic society. He invites familiar faces to the discussion to attract sufficient audiences.
My Street Films (Prague, Brno, Ústí nad Labem, Mariánské Lázně)
„My Street Films“ Association of Documentary Filmmakers has been operating for six years, with 1200 students attending their educational events, and 600 students attended theoretical and practical workshops for secondary schools. In the supported project they want to organize five seminars for the general public (Prague, Brno, Usti nad Labem) and 12 several-day workshops for secondary schools (Prague Brno, Usti nad Labem, Marianske Lazne), where they explain the practices of manipulators.
Nenechte se napálit podvodnými praktikami na internetu (Prague)
Hearing impaired peole can draw on only a limited amount of resources, making it easier to succumb to fraud and attacks. „Orbi Pontes“ will organize three lectures on fake news for the hearing impaired, made available in transcripts and interpreted into sign language.
Pravda a manipulace v mediích (South Bohemia Region)
„Klub Aktiv“ has planned a series of seminars and excursions in regional editors for 21 seniors and 7 grammar school students, where they get to know the world of the media and learn to obtain and verify information.
Preventivní programy SPIRÁLA (Hradec Králové Region)
„Prostor Pro“ has been helping teenagers in the Hradec Králové Region with difficult situations for 19 years and cooperates with 3.-9. classes of elementary schools. Within a grant call “Prostor Pro” will prepare a methodology for a special workshop on critical thinking for the 8th and 9th classes.
Rozvoj fact-checkingového projektu Manipulátoři.cz (Prague)
Manipulátoři.cz, a project that monitors handling and hoaxes and verifies, apply for a grant for the first time since its founding in 2015. So far, the association operates voluntarily. They want to add an encyclopedia on their site and establish a YouTube channel to be closer to the most vulnerable groups.