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Author: ECAS European Citizen Action Service

Event Report – Beyond Fake News: A Workshop on Media Literacy and Fact Checking

On 26 September 2017, ECAS hosted a workshop by the European Association of Viewers’ Interests (EAVI) on the fake news, media literacy and shifting media landscape. Paolo Celot, Secretary General of EAVI, opened the workshop by introducing the concepts of fake news and media literacy, and discussed the implications of fake news for the individual and society. He looked further at media literacy and the competences that are needed to understand media messages and identify fake news. Why does fake news exist? He was followed by Luc Steinberg, Media and Project Officer at EAVI, who examined the reasons why fake news exists and what can be done to counter it, and placed it in the context of media literacy. Issues around rising inequality, people becoming content creators and social media algorithms have created a media environment where people are looking for alternative sources of information and are more exposed to biased and misleading information. Media literacy is a proactive way of ‘inoculating’ people against fake news by giving them the skills and competences to distinguish between different kinds of media messages. He finished by examining the different kinds of fake news and the motivations behind them. Beyond the Headlines The workshop closed with a game, ‘Beyond the Headlines – The Online News Verification Game‘, in which the participants dissected different examples of fake news. Read the full report here...

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Digital Democracy Could Engage Citizens in Europe – ECAS’ Director in Europe’s World

On 2 October, Europe’s World featured an article by ECAS’ Director Assya Kavrakova on democracy in the digital age and the potential role digital technologies can play in enhancing citizen participation and youth engagement at EU level. In her contribution, she introduced a number of digital initiatives that have been employed at national level in EU Member States, and that have been analysed by ECAS, in order to assess how digital democracy could positively affect democratic processes and lead to democratic innovation. In order to maximize the benefits and opportunities descending from the employment of digital tools, however, further actions need to be undertaken at EU level, such as the development of sound policies on privacy and media literacy, as well as the promotion of new media and both on-and off-line activities. To reduce the gap between themselves and citizens and transform the relationship into a partnership, EU decision-makers should embrace democratic innovation. They can do this by developing digital democracy policies for citizen engagement as an integral part of the Digital Single Market. Moreover, they should use digital tools to interact with young people where they naturally are – in the digital space – instead of waiting for young people to engage in politics as currently practised. Digital democracy has the potential to contribute to the rejuvenation of the European project and to the creation of an engaged citizenship. This can...

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September News Flash – ECI Revision, SOTEU and Digital Democracy Day

This month, our newsletter covers our latest activities and work, including the kick-off training in Warsaw of our ACT for free Movement project, our Live Chat on youth mobility and Erasmus+, the results of the DEEP-linking Youth digital competition and our upcoming events, such as the Digital Democracy Day in Brussels. In addition, you will find updates on the Commission’s reform proposal to improve the European Citizens Initiative, the State of the Union speech, the REFIT opinion on  ID card harmonisation and the latest on Brexit. Finally, we look at the recent rulings and developments in EU rights, including the ECJ judgment on the EU-Canada PNR Deal and two additional rulings affecting the right of air crew members to bring disputes on employment contracts before the courts of the place where they habitually carry out their work and the right of airline passengers to obtain compensation in the event of a long delay on a connecting flight. Access the newsletter here   The post September News Flash – ECI Revision, SOTEU and Digital Democracy Day appeared first on...

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Brexit Guarantee to EU Citizens at Odds with Rising Discrimination

In a speech in Florence on September 22, UK Prime Minister Theresa May gave her strongest assurances yet that citizens’ rights would be secured after Brexit, but her words are unlikely to reassure EU citizens in the UK who have suffered a steep rise in discrimination after the Brexit vote. Striking a more conciliatory tone than in previous interventions, Mrs May sought to ease the “great anxiety and worry” that Brexit has caused, saying “we want you to stay; we value you; and we thank you for your contribution to our national life.” In a further effort to appease EU citizens in the UK, as well as the EU’s Brexit negotiators, she emphasised the independence and effectiveness of the British courts as a guarantor of citizens’ rights, and conceded that the UK courts would take European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings into consideration. Rising discrimination But such promises need to be backed up by concrete progress in the Brexit negotiations and action on the ground to address the rise in discrimination that EU nationals are suffering in the UK. As our survey ‘What do Citizens Want from Brexit?’ shows, two of the biggest concerns of EU citizens in the UK are uncertainty about the future and discrimination. Recent reports have made clear that these concerns are justified. The uncertainty surrounding the issue of EU citizens’ post-Brexit rights has led...

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Free Movement Activist Training Kicks Off in Warsaw

On 18-20 September, the ACT for Free Movement training series kicked off in Warsaw, with 17 free movement activists from across Europe joining the European Alternatives, ECAS and Krytyka Polityczna for three days of intensive training on EU citizenship, free movement rights, rights’ enforcement and campaigning. Activists from universities, NGOs and the legal profession all took part in the training – the first in a series of four workshops – to address the rise in restrictions to, and infringements of, free movement rights across Europe. The participants were given a comprehensive overview of EU citizenship and free movement rights, were informed about the mechanisms for defending those rights, from the local to the transnational level, and experimented with participatory approaches to campaigning for EU citizens’ rights. They also shared their own visions of free movement, and the current challenges to those rights, with Polish activists and migrant rights’ organisations, from the rise in nationalism and the far-right to the development of positive narratives for free movement in Europe. Next steps In the coming months, the participants will continue to develop their campaigns and exchange ideas on how to strengthen free movement rights in Europe and elaborate creative narratives and innovative actions for their enforcement. The next training event will take place in Madrid from 25-29 October at the European Alternatives’ TRANSEUROPA Festival, before the activists launch their own free...

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EU Rights in the Spotlight – September 2017

The EU Rights in the Spotlight section for this month features two rulings affecting the right of air crew members to bring disputes on employment contracts before the courts of the place where they habitually carry out their work and the right of airline passengers to obtain compensation in the event of a long delay on a connecting flight. In disputes relating to their employment contracts, air crew members have the option of bringing proceedings before the courts of the place where they perform the essential part of their duties vis-à-vis their employer On 14 September, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that, in the event of proceedings being brought by air crew members and concerning employment contracts, the Court of the place where the employee habitually carries out their work has jurisdiction to hear the dispute, regardless the inclusion or not in the contract of a jurisdiction clause conferring jurisdiction to a different Court. The judgment follows a proceeding started before the Mons Higher Labour Court in March 2016 by six airline cabin crew employees who had employment contracts with Ryanair and Crewlink. Ryanair challenged the jurisdiction of the Belgian courts over the dispute, claiming that the employment contracts were subject to Irish law and included a jurisdiction clause conferring jurisdiction on the Irish courts as regards any disputes. In addition to this, according to the contracts,...

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Reform Proposal Promises to Make ECI ‘Fit for Purpose’

Following a State of the Union address that placed democracy at the heart of the EU’s agenda, on 13 September 2017 the Commission published a promising reform proposal to improve the European Citizens Initiative (ECI). This decision was taken by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who has stated that delivering ECI reform is an important priority for him before the end of this Commission’s term in office. He has committed to revising the relevant Regulation to make the ECI more user-friendly, especially by taking advantage of new identification and collection technology to make it easier to organise and support an...

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Our Training Seminar on EU Law Rights and Advocacy: The Summary

On 9-10 July ECAS co-organized together with the AIRE centre a training seminar and a roundtable workshop under the Invisible EU Migrants project, funded under the European Program for Integration and Migration (EPIM). The training seminar on 9 July, which … The post Our Training Seminar on EU Law Rights and Advocacy: The Summary appeared first on...

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