ECPMF Conference “Defending the truth in a post-truth era” (13/14 June 2017, Leipzig)

Do facts still matter? If this is not the case: what are we dealing with then? Our society needs proper communications. If anyone can win an election by distributing “fake news”, democracy is in danger.

Media freedom is at risk already. All over Europe, journalists are intimidated, threatened and attacked, just because they are doing their job: discovering the truth. In Germany alone, at least 19 media workers were attacked in the past year. You can read this in our latest research report “The concept of the enemy II”.

We want – and we still have to – talk about these developments.

International experts present case studies on how to combat and deal with “fake news“  – from forged war pictures from Syria to the creation of myths in the French election campaign. We introduce “elves“ from Lithuania who prevent “trolls“ from disseminating propaganda and smear campaigns in (social) media. And we want to introduce fact-checking tools for the verification of sources and pictures.

Come to Leipzig and join the discussion!

Tuesday-Wednesday, 13/14 June 2017
(2pm-2pm, with evening reception on Day 1)
Venue: Ring Café, Roßplatz 8, 04103 Leipzig, Germany

  • The conference is free of charge. Please confirm your participation until June 5 via email to
  • For more information and details on the programme, please visit the event website.
  • Please keep checking the conference website and the Facebook event.
  • The conference language is English.


DAY 1, Tuesday 13 June

13.45 Registration

14.00 Welcome by ECPMF’s Lutz Kinkel

14.10 – 14.30 Keynote: ”Lying press” (Lügenpresse) in Germany

EIJC researcher Martin Hoffmann presents ECPMF fact-finding missions 2015-17

14.30 – 15.15 Henrik Kaufholz moderates keynote debate (tbc)

15.15 – 15.30 Time for questions and comments from the floor

15.30 – 16.00 Coffee/tea break

16.00 – 17.45 Case studies and discussion

Moderation: Jane Whyatt (ECPMF)

  1. Elves versus trolls –social media activists take down propaganda and fake news. Vaidas Saidziunas (DELFI) tells how NATO and the Kremlin are at war in your Facebook feed.
  2. Fake news in the Czech Republic and Slovakia – Lucie Sykorova, journalist from Pilsen and SNE editor Beata Balagova from Bratislava
  3. Fake news about Syria: James Harkin, The Centre for Investigative Journalism, London, UK, presents his research + Airwars researcher Eline Westra, Amsterdam, Netherlands, revealing the shocking truth about civilian casualties of European bombing in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan
  4. Hoaxmap – Karolin Schwarz, Berlin, Germany, presents her crowdsourced fact-checking project , de-bunking lies that are circulated about refugees

18.00 – 20.00 Networking reception for all participants with drinks and finger food, roof terrace Ringcafé.


DAY 2, Wednesday 14 June

09.30-10.30 Conference plenary with case studies and podium discussion
Moderation: ECPMF chair Henrik Kaufholz

  1. Distortions and propaganda – fact checking project in the French election campaign (First Draft News cross check project)
  2. European Federation of Journalists and Council of Europe initiative against self-censorship – Camille Petit, EFJ Brussels, Belgium
  3. Lie Detectors – media literacy project Juliane von Reppert-Bismarck

10.30 – 11.00 Coffee break and networking

11:00 – 12:00

Truly media – Jochen Spangenburg will talk about user-generated content as an information resource, and the misinformation ecosystem in general. He will point to existing practices, strategies and approaches, and consider pitfalls as well as ways forward. His focus will be on demonstrating Truly.Media, a tool for collaborative verification of UGC, that is currently in beta testing status. Truly.Media is partly based on and includes insights from the European research projects REVEAL and InVID, which will also be portrayed.

12.00 – 12.15 Prof Dirk Voorhoof (Human Rights Centre Ghent University and ECPMF) and Ides Debruyne (journalismfund) present Manifesto on Fake News (comments are welcome beforehand![NW1] )

12.15 – 12.30 Summary by ECPMF Managing Director Lutz Kinkel, call to media freedom community to defend truth and expose fake news throughout Europe

12.30 – 13.30 Networking lunch

13.45 End

For more information contact the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom

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