International event


Responsible Communication in the Age of the Digital Revolution, event as a part of CERV project Have Your Say in EU

1st day of our event (1st July), office of the Europe Direct Slavonski Brod, which operates at the Europe House Slavonski Brod, was visited by representatives of partner organizations of the CERV project Have Your Say in EU. Maja Kuzmić presented them the work of the Europe House SB and Europe Direct Slavonski Brod, and its current activities aimed at citizens, especially young people. Repreentatives of parnter organizations presented their organizations and current projects aimed at increasing the turnout of citizens at the #EP2024 elections and dedicated to stronger and more exclusive participation of citizens in democratic processes at all levels.

At 11 a.m. on the same day, Tomislav Levak, professor and communicator of the Academy of Arts in Osijek from J. J. Strossmayer University, held an interactive lecture and workshop on “Responsible Communication In New Media Universe” at the Matija Antun Reljković High School. The participants and audience were members of partner organizations within the CERV project #HaveYourSayinEU from Germany, Poland and Bulgaria, representatives of the Slavonski Brod Europe House Slavonski Brod and teachers and students of the Matija Antun Reljković Vocational High School. In the interaction, interesting exchange of opinions and attitudes, and education based on gamification, more than two hours flew by quickly, and new collaborations on the topics of media literacy and responsible communication in the digital environment were agreed upon. The workshop was very well evaluated; The presenter received great comments and an extremely positive evaluation after the lecture and workshop.

At 2 p.m. on the same day, the Croatian EP member Romana Jerković discussed communication between EU institutions and citizens, especially in the preparatory period for the EP, and many other issues with the juniors and seniors of the School of Ambassadors of the European Parliament – High School “Matija Mesić” – Emir Miščančuk, Marina Cvijić and Korenelia Šebalj, and representatives of partner organization.sat . In the first part, the representative explained the functioning of the European Parliament to the young people in English, and in the second part, the young people asked her questions. The students were interested in: Does it trure that members of the EP are allowed to use TikTok? How the European Parliament communicates with citizens, whether communication between EU institutions and citizens became more interactive and democratic, will there be any changes in the EP2024 elections? Voting in the European elections is mandatory in Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Luxembourg. Do you think that such a practice should be introduced in other member states? Would that increase the turnout in the elections in the Republic of Croatia? Do you agree with the statement that giving 16-year-olds the right to vote strengthens democratic habits and encourages active participation in democratic processes Surely you know that in some countries there is no civic education? Does anyone need an ignorant voter? Are there better ways to increase voter turnout? Not only by lowering the age limit?;  Employed persons under the age of 18 pay taxes and have the right to ride motorcycles and decide on health issues without parental consent. Should they be denied the right to decide their own future? As a first step, the Council of Europe promotes the lowering of the voting age in local and regional elections. Should Croatia follow such a practice in the next local elections?; The possibility of holding joint parliamentary and European parliamentary elections in the Republic of Croatia is mentioned in the media. What do you think about that idea? Currently, only Austria, Malta and Belgium allow young people aged 16 and 17 to vote in European Parliament elections. Why do you think this is so? Is it possible nowadays to manipulate young people more easily and that is the reason for not keeping the age limit for voting? Disinformation (false information), misinformation (wrong information) and malinformation (malicious information) are often used in election campaigns – what tools would you advise us to use to defend against them and how we can get objective information? Is it true that employees in the premises of the European Commission and the European Parliament are prohibited from using TikTok? Numerous studies have shown that during the pre-election period (Brexit campaign and the 2016 US presidential election, which was won by Donald Trump), citizens are more exposed to misinformation and the use of personal data from Facebook profiles for the purpose of political advertising is more frequent? How to protect yourself? Is there any joint program of the European Parliament that would encourage citizens in all member states to turn out more for the 2024 elections?; What is the effect of the Conference on the Future of Europe on participatory democracy? Was Conference only the type of involvement of citizens in exercise of participatory democrac?; Currently, adult Croatian citizens will elect 12 deputies for the tenth convocation of the European Parliament on Sunday, June 9, 2024. A total of 705 deputies are elected in 27 member states. How can young people in Croatia learn about the importance of our 12 representatives in the European Parliament?; The phenomenon of fake news and unverified information is a very serious challenge contemporary, especially online media where ethical relativism has become a generally accepted category, but the truth is very often exposed to commercial pressure values. How to deal with media manipulation and indoctrination?; We know that the EU is trying to involve citizens in interactive communication with its institutions as much as possible. Progress was achieved by electing the president of the European Commission by the EP members. Is this the only democratic change and is there any new one in the announcement?

After the conversation with the representative, the junior and senior ambassadors exchanged impressions with the foreign guests, discussed the future of Europe, the freedom of the media in the digital age, the possibilities of more active engagement in social and political life, the obstacles and challenges facing them.

This gathering was certainly useful for the participants of the dialogue, since next year there are new elections for representatives of the EP, and a large number of current students of the Gymnasium will be able to participate in them for the first time.

At 4 p.m., we visited Slavonskobrodska TV and discussed the responsibility of regional TV stations in communication with representatives of local authorities, the public and business sectors. Ivan Čalić, editor-in-chief of SBTV, spoke about the program of the regional TV station, sources of information, the representation of EU topics in the program, financing, the method of selecting news (what is given priority), the reputation and popularity of SBTV in Brod Posavina County and neighboring counties which this media covers. The visitors were interested in why they have a hard time retaining working staff; underpayment of employees; neglect of public events for which the organizers do not want to pay for TV broadcasting, but they want the news about their event to be published because they consider the event to be of public interest. The editor explained that the editorial policy is managed not only by the editor-in-chief, but also by the media owners, who primarily care about profit.

At 5 p.m., representatives of the Euroe House Slavonski Brod, in collaboration with Nikolina Pranjić and Jasna Vujčić, lecturers at the University of Slavonski Brod, held a short introductory lecture and workshop for students and guests of the „HaveYour Say in EU“ project. In Professor Vujčić’s introductory lecture on a critical approach to information shared digitally, she said: “Every time you’re online, you are bombarded by pictures, articles, links and videos trying to tell their story. Unfortunately, not all of these stories are true. Sometimes they want you to click on another story or advertisement on their own site, other times they want to upset people for political reasons. These days it’s so easy to share information. These stories circulate quickly, and the result is … fake news. There is a range of fake news: from crazy stories which people easily recognize to more subtle types of misinformation. Experts in media studies and online psychology have been examining the fake news phenomenon”. Then followed the workshop: WALKING IN ANOTHER’S SHOES based on the modified fairy tale: The Maligned Wolf. After the workshop, participants discussed how to spot fake news. At the end of the meeting, the workshop leader gave several instructions to the students on how to avoid fake news: Check the source; Watch out for fake photos; Check the story is in other places; Look for other signs (There are other techniques that fake news uses. These include using ALL CAPS and lots of ads that pop up when you click on a link. Also, think about how the story makes you feel. If the news story makes you angry, it’s probably designed to make you angry. If you know these things about online news, and can apply them in your everyday life, then you have the control over what to read, what to believe and most importantly what to share. If you find a news story that you know is fake, the most important advice is: don’t share it!)

The second working day (June 2) we started with a meeting with the members and users of the Vrapčići (little sparrows) association. They introduced us to their work, activities, opportunities and obstacles in their work. The association for the improvement of mental health and quality of life of patients with psychotic disorders and their families was founded in 2009. The purpose and goal of establishing the Association is to fight for the human and civil rights of patients with psychotic disorders (first psychotic episode, schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and other mental disorders, psychotic-level depression, severe forms of personality disorder…). The purpose of our visit was to discuss the quality of cooperation between the association and its communication with the media, the representation of topics related to the needs of people with impaired mental health, and the way to sensitize the wider public to the destigmatization of that kind sick.

At 11 a.m. in the City Library of Slavonski Brod, the International conference Responsible Communication in the Age of the Digital Revolution! was held, with the support of the European Commission in Croatia and the EP Office in Zagreb. The purpose of holding the conference was to inform the public that citizens deserve objective information, and some media, especially new digital channels, are being used to spread misinformation in an increasingly divided world. How to distinguish true from false information? Soon there will be elections at the European, national and local level… How to reduce the possibility of indoctrination and manipulation of citizens, especially young people, who are not sufficiently media literate? Are there obligations to communicate responsibly in the digital age and sanctions if this is not the case?; We know that everyone has an equal right to participate in the media space. Why do the media give so much more space to Eurosceptic parties?; What are the causes of populism/nationalism in Europe? Recession, unemployment? And what else do you think?; Do you think digitalization is a threat or an opportunity for democracy?;In this forest of information and misinformation, we feel lost and confused. How can we find the way to objective or more objective information and not wander?; Why is media literacy not implemented from an early age, from kindergarten?. Are there rules for a safe and competitive digital environment in the EU or world?; The European Parliament has taken positions on establishing ethical principles that guide the EU’s approach to the digital transformation, so called –  a human-centred approach? Would you be so kind and explain what this means?; Does MEPs updated the rules for a high common level of cybersecurity across the Union in response to the growing threats posed by digitalisation and a surge in cyber-attacks?; What is the effect of the Conference on the Future of Europe on participatory democracy? Was it only  the involvement of citizens in what is considered a true or false exercise of participatory democracy?; Will the Spitzenkandidaten process be improved?;The phenomenon of fake news and unverified information is a very serious challenge contemporary, especially online media where ethical relativism has become a generally accepted category, but the truth is very often exposed to commercial pressure values. How to deal with media manipulation and indoctrination?; .  Will the Spitzenkandidaten process be improved?

Conference participants were Maja Ljubić Kutnjak, EP Office in Croatia, Ph.D. Irena Krumes, University of Slavonski Brod; Iva Bodrožić-Selak, professor, Matija Antun Reljković High School; Dominik Cvetkovski, Entrepreneurship Incubator Pismo, Novska; Olga Stoyanova-Encheva, Veliko Tarnovo University, Bulgaria; Theo Wenzler, Democracy International, Cologne, Germany; Piotr Brauntsch and Michał Stokowski, Robert Schuman Foundation, Warsaw, Poland.

At 3 pm we visited the Radio Brod, the first established radio station in Slavonia. The way of working and communication of the local radio station was discussed with citizens and representatives of all three sectors; from a radio perspective – what is responsible communication, objective information; the importance and popularity of local radio and (in)dependence on media space participants – media owners, local authorities, advertisers. The editor gave a brief overview of the development of Radio Brod (the first radio station in Slavonia – 1958); its popularity during the Homeland War because through it they received the first information about the situation in the city, its surroundings and beyond; about changes in the structure and duration of the news – it used to last 20 minutes, but today it is no longer than 3 minutes. “The times and today’s listeners demand more entertainment, music, and less serious information. If they expect them, not in a form longer than two to three minutes…”, pointed out the director of Radio Brod.

Prethodna objava
Razvijanjem građanske kompetencije i njegovanjem odgovorne komunikacije u doba digitalnog vremena prema inkluzivnijim europskim društvima
Sljedeća objava
Online dijalog Romane Jerković, hrvatske eurozastupnice s mladima