Douzelage Meerssen has initiated a project called “Free Press under Pressure” (FPuP) that aims to establish insight on how news is gathered and published, how to find a way through all news – through any channel – supplied and last but not least, how to form a critical assessment/judgement on the news presented. The participants are young adults (18 – 30 years) from many countries in the EU.
The project was organised from November 5th until 8th in Meerssen.
The background of the project is the pressure on free press:
• Governments that restrict the press through their information departments, by propaganda or even by new restrictive laws;
• Social media spread information faster, unfiltered, even disinformation. Principles of journalism are not upheld;
• Politicians make use of this and describe publications by the press as “fake news” at will;
• A complex world with fast developing news that forces the press to choose for topics closer to home.
The project offered the participants workshops lead by professionals from higher education organizations. The results of the workshops were discussed plenary and lead to a set of tools the young adults can use to discern independent news gathering from unverified meanings and facts.
The project is funded by the European program “Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values” and the partners in the project are: Fontys University of Applied Sciences, Studio Europa (Maastricht University), UNU MERIT (United Nations University Maastricht), Douzelage Köszeg, Douzelage Siret.
Signe Wilkinson/Washington Post Writers Group