Is Populism a problem?

Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 8-10 November 2017

The Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights (MFHR) as an international NGO with consultative status at the Council of Europe, participated in the 2017 World Forum for Democracy under the theme: "Is Populism a problem?" (Strasbourg, 8-10 November 2017) which was organized by the Council of Europe in partnership with the European Parliament, French Authorities, the Grand Est Region and the City of Strasbourg. The objective of the WFD 2017 was to review novel initiatives and approaches which can enhance democratic practices and help parties, media and political actors to reconnect to citizens, re-built public trust and promote institutional balance.

LAB 3 - Fact checking: is it worth the effort?

The lab discussed if fact-checking makes a difference and explored possible solutions to expand the outreach once facts are checked. During the discussion it was highlighted that fact-finding is an important dimension of journalism which contributes to a healthy democracy of informed citizens. However, there can be many obstacles for the fact-checkers, such as lack of reliable data and sources of official information. The speakers discussed the significance of social media platforms and their role in the distribution of news and information. There was a consensus that better engagement with citizens is required.

CrossCheck (France/UK) presented its activities in the field of fact checking. It was launched in 2017 to create a claim verification service for the French presidential campaign. Cross-Check has developed a typology of 7 types of misinformation or disinformation (misleading content, satire, fabricated content, imposter content, false content and manipulated content).

Africa Check was established in 2012 and has fact-checked over 1500 claims.

Which are the possible ways to encourage the fact checking? Some of the participants expressed a desire to instill a greater appreciation of traditional journalism, while others suggested that intervention in schools is needed, in the form of financial support to misinformation education.

LAB 9 - Fake news: does fact checking work?

Fake news constitutes a fundamental threat to democracy and pluralism everywhere. This Lab investigated examples of fact checking methodologies and tried to pinpoint the most effective approaches in cracking down on fake stories.

The initiatives that were presented:

NGO, Union of Informed Citizens (Armenia): their solution to the problem of fake news is the promotion of fact-based information and its distribution amongst the population through images, videos, etc.

The Insider (investigative newspaper in Russia) seeks to provide its readers with information about the current political, economic and social situation in Russia. In parallel, they try to shed light on issues related to HR and civil society and promotes democratic value. Furthermore, the Insider implements the “Antifake” project, with the objective of systematically debunking fake news in Russian media.

The Insider received the 2017 Democracy Innovation Award. (The Council of Europe’s Democracy Innovation Award is given by the Secretary General each year to the World Forum for Democracy’s most popular initiative, which was presented in the labs, voted upon by the Forum participants).

EUCHECK (Journalism schools for fact-finding, Netherland): EUCHECK’s purpose is to train a new generation of journalists to ensure that public is well informed. Its goal is to established fact-finding platforms at the national level.

The World Forum for Democracy 2018 will take place in Strasbourg from 19 to 21 November 2018. The online registration will open in June 2018.

Democracy & equality: does education matter?

Council of Europe, Strasbourg, November 2016

The Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights (MFHR) as an international NGO with consultative status at the Council of Europe, participated in the 2016 World Forum for Democracy under the theme: "Democracy and equality – does education matter?" (Strasbourg, 7-9 November 2016) which was organized by the Council of Europe in partnership with Strasbourg City Council, the Grand Est Region and the French government. The World Forum for Democracy is a platform for dialogue and innovation dedicated to democracy which promotes the Council of Europe principles across the world, taking place in Strasbourg every year since 2012. This year’s edition of the World Forum for Democracy focused on the relationship between education and democracy and especially on how education can help bridge the social divide and how it can become better in nurturing citizens as active members of society. It was discussed not only what education can do for democracy but also what democracy can do for education. The Forum brought together 140 speakers from 60 countries and more than 2.000 participants from 100 countries who discussed practical initiatives to address the challenge of “Democracy and equality: does education matter?”.

The MFHR participated in labs featuring presentations which illustrated examples of Human Rights Education (HRE) for different groups (including refugees and minor accompanied asylum-seekers) in countries such as Moldova and Norway. These have launched two innovative programs; the first, an optional course “Human Rights Education” at gymnasium and lyceum levels, aimed at teaching students human rights and democracy as well as improving the training of teachers in those subjects. The second project is implemented in Norway and involves two days’ courses for minor asylum seekers and courses for refugees/asylum seekers together with Norwegian youth.

During the Forum, the role of social innovation in education was also highlighted, as it enables refugees to educate themselves and therefore facilitates their integration in the host country. By way of example, the German Start-up Kiron which gives the opportunity to refugees to enjoy access to higher education, location-independently and regardless of their legal status was mentioned. Furthermore, another pertinent project is NaTakallam (“we speak” in Arabic) focusing on an intercultural exchange between displaced Syrians and Arabic learners, by practicing Arabic.

With regard to the 2017 World Forum for Democracy, it was announced that it will discuss the growing problem of populism, looking particularly at the role of political parties and the media.

Με ιδιαίτερη χαρά τo Ίδρυμα Μαραγκοπούλου για τα Δικαιώματα του Ανθρώπου (ΙΜΔΑ) ανακοινώνει ότι το κείμενο που υπέβαλε στις 14 Απριλίου 2015 στη Διάσκεψη των Διεθνών ΜΚΟ του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης με τίτλο «La violation des droits économiques, sociaux et culturels par des mesures daustérité : une menace grave pour la démocratie» όχι μόνο εγκρίθηκε από την εν λόγω Διάσκεψη, αλλά και οδήγησε στην υιοθέτηση στις 25 Ιουνίου 2015 σχετικής Σύστασης (CONF/PLE(2015)REC1) με τον ίδιο ακριβώς τίτλο στην αγγλική «The violation of economic, social and cultural rights by austerity measures: a serious threat to democracy», η οποία απευθύνεται στα κράτη μέλη του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης.

Σημειωτέον ότι η έκθεση της Επιτροπής για τα Δικαιώματα του Ανθρώπου CDDH(2015)R84 Addendum IV με τίτλο «The impact of the economic crisis and austerity measures on human rights in Europe. Feasibility study», η οποία υιοθετήθηκε από την Επιτροπή Υπουργών του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης στις 7-8 Δεκεμβρίου 2015, εμπνεύστηκε – μεταξύ άλλων – από το παραπάνω κείμενο του ΙΜΔΑ.

Τα κείμενα είναι διαθέσιμα στους ακόλουθους συνδέσμους:

Κείμενο ΙΜΔΑ

Σύσταση Διάσκεψης Διεθνών ΜΚΟ του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης

Feasibility Study