Erasmus grant for eLaw’s research on fake news

Dr. Mark Leiser, Assistant Professor in Law and Digital Technologies at eLaw – Center for Law and Digital Technologies at Leiden University, has won a grant for fake news research.

The grant will result in eLaw joining a consortium made up of a number of European universities, funded by an Erasmus grant of €450.000, aiming to empower current and future media and media education professionals, to identify, prevent, and combat the spread of fake news over digital networks.

The spread of disinformation over digital social networks tends to undermine freedom of press and freedom of expression. As highlighted in the report published by the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group (2018) tackling misinformation requires a multidimensional approach and strategy because of its technological, legal, political, economic and educational implications (“A multi-dimensional approach to disinformation. Report of the independent High-level Group on fake news and online disinformation” – March 2018).

The Commission recognized the key role of emerging technologies and the way they can change the way information is produced and disseminated, can play a central role in tackling disinformation. The project will target students in media studies, current and future media professionals, public relation managers, and teachers in media education. The project will carry out the following key activities:

  • The design, implementation and organization of a joint European cross-disciplinary post-graduate training curriculum on disinformation and fact-checking accessible via the Web.
  • The design & development of eight e-learning course modules in the following areas covering the main disciplinary fields concerned by disinformation.

‘This important program that will contribute to the well-being of, not only Dutch society, but Europe and the long-term health of the wider information ecosystem’, Dr. Leiser noted. ‘The project brings together some of best scientific and experienced academic and research centers in Europe. eLaw is very proud to be part of this important work. Plus, it was great working with Professor Simone van der Hof on this.’

Prof.dr. Bart Custers, director of research at eLaw, added: ‘This research grant allows eLaw to explore in-depth the phenomenon of fake news over digital networks. This is a highly important topic with both societal and academic relevance in the domain of law and digital technologies. Dr. Mark Leiser, our expert in this domain has co-authored an excellent and realistic proposal within a research consortium consisting of highly knowledgeable and experienced experts from academia throughout Europe. We look forward cooperating with these partners. Also, we expect to implement the project results directly in our courses on media and fundamental rights.’

The project has a duration of three years and will be hosted, in part, by eLaw at the Faculty of Law of Leiden University.

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