The results of a study conducted by the Demagog association, called ‘The Fake News Problem’ indicate that every 5th young person in Poland does not verify information he or she comes across. A large group of the population, regardless of age, does not feel responsible for the quality of information shared in public, which leads to the spread of fake news. According to the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project, as many as 22% of Poles believe that coronavirus does not exist, and 42% are convinced that the pandemic has been artificially triggered by the Chinese government. A study conducted by Franciszek Czech and Paweł Ścigaj shows that the belief in conspiracy theories is correlated, among others, to support for political parties. Zjednoczona Prawica and Konfederacja voters are most convinced about the truthfulness of global conspiracy theories. This problem is particularly serious in Podkarpacie, where our organisation is seated – this results both from our observations and from statistics regarding political preferences in the region.
We will address the above problems by training 20 leaders from the Podkarpackie province in diversifying between sources of information, verifying facts, selecting most important content, and communicating it in a simple and transparent fashion, we will also teach them how to properly moderate a discussion. Each person trained will establish cooperation with a social organisation to prepare a cycle of workshops devoted to fact-checking, communication and debates meant for residents of a given area. We will also create an online fact-checking course which we will promote by means of a nationwide campaign against fake news.
Our partner organization is Ważne Sprawy Foundation. Their mission is to improve the quality of public debate by talking about important topics in a simple manner. They will support us with their expertise from the field of information verification, training designing, and creation of online educational tools.