Start & End Date: 01-06-2019 – 31-08-2020
Place: Weimar (Germany), Krasnodar (Russia), Kharkiv (Ukraine)
Participating Countries: Germany, Ukraine, Russia
Project Partners: CGE Erfurt e.V., Kharkiv Regional Youth Non-Governmental Organisation “Enlightening Initiative”, Academy of innovation
Number of Participants: 25 participants

Grant Giver: Erasmus+
Funding Program: Key Action 1
Grant Amount: 37274 EUR

Young people in Germany, Ukraine and Russia are getting more exposed to radicalisation as the outcome of the tense geopolitical situation between the countries, the general trend of re-discovery of nationalism in Europe and the rise of fake news globally. Media outlets especially contribute to this process, using negative narratives to confuse and polarise young minds. The partner consortium of CGE Erfurt e.V., NGO “Englightening Inititiave” and social initiative “Academy of Innovation” have particularly realised that after evaluating the participants’ responses from another common Erasmus+ project “We are the Peacemakers!”. Therefore, to combat the overwhelming tendency of media influence on youth, the partners organisations, after consulting with the group leaders, propose a series of media camps for young people to train their critical thinking in decoding media algorithms behind screaming headlines, catching posters or dubious articles/post in the Internet.

The idea of #DecodingMedia Camps strongly correlates with the recent developments in the youth policy on the EU level. As the outcome of the 6th cycle of the EU Youth Dialogue “Youth in Europe: What’s next?”, which was carried out to contribute to the renewed EU Youth Strategy for 2019-2027 “Engaging, Connecting and Empowering young people”, the European Commission came out with 11 European Youth Goals, among which is “Information & Constructive Dialogue”. In regards to that, the German National Agency in its annual priorities also committed to prioritise projects, contributing to the development of media competences and critical thinking of young people. Therefore, we believe that #DecodingMedia Camps are linked to the objectives of the Erasmus+ program and will foster a culture of critical thinking and allow a coherent dialogue between German, Ukrainian and Russian youth.

    The #DecodingMedia Camps project sets the following objectives:
  • to help young people clearly understand the role of media in today’s world;
  • to assist youngsters in developing their critical and analytical thinking capabilities in the post-truth era;
  • to promote pluralism, freedom of press and freedom of expression;
  • to address the issue of hate speech online between the participating countries;
  • to combat populism, radicalisation/extremism, censorship and propaganda in Germany, Ukraine and Russia;
  • to encourage youth to critically analyse current national and EU affairs;
  • to empower youngsters to create their own independent media outlets/products and further promote critical thinking among their peers;
  • to create intercultural learning moments among the participants and between them;
  • to enhance participants´ ICT skills.

More than once the Commission has emphasised, that “the ability to judge the true merit of media content and make conscious choices – or ‘media literacy’ – becomes ever more essential for active citizenship and democracy”. In the current times of ubiquitous political propaganda, fake news and public opinion manipulation, we need our young people to stay strong and keep being engaged in public and political life, protecting the democratic values Europe represents. That is why #DecodingMedia camps being able to see the information for what it is, is one of the key competences in the XXI century.

To reach the aims of the project, we created three activities:


Summer Camp in Weimar
The Camp is going to take place in Weimar, Germany.

The Summer Camp in Weimar, Germany seeks to introduce the participants to the theories of media and communication, addressing need of young people to learn how to question the role of media outlets in the times of conflict. The practical part of the camp will include the workshops on tools for critical analysis of text information, including fact-checking. The issue of hate speech will be also brought to attention of the participants, recognising how young polarised minds can easily violate human rights online.

Number of participants: 25

Profile of participants: Young people 16 – 26 years old.


Autumn Camp in Krasnodar
The Camp is going to take place in Krasnodar, Russia.

The Autumn Camp will be focused on graphical side of the information communication, inspecting photographs, collages and posters published in the media. With the help of an expert from the educational comic project “Respect”, the participants will work with graphic materials, collaborating on a common album of “Decoded Media”.

Number of participants: 25

Profile of participants: Young people 16 – 26 years old.


Winter Camp in Kharkiv
The Camp is going to take place in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

The Winter Camp will respond to the need of youngster to look behind video reporting and create their own news pieces, using the knowledge from the two previous exchanges. The final event will exhibit all results of the three camps and bring wider audience to a discussion on media’s role nowadays.

Number of participants: 25

Profile of participants: Young people 16 – 26 years old.


Impact

At the Summer Camp the participants will actively work with text media and produce articles/blog posts on rethinking media, mediatisation of conflict, tackling hate speech online between Germany, Ukraine and Russia. Therefore, the main dissemination tools will be websites and social media pages of the partners.

At the Autumn Camp, the participants will work with graphic materials and in the end create an online album “Decoded Media” with the best work uncovering the role of media in the post-truth era. In this case, we will actively use Instagram account of CGE for online promotion and print postcards, with the pictures from the “Decoded Media” album, as tangible results for spreading in Krasnodar city.

At the Winter Camp, the participants will take cameras in their hands and try themselves in video reporting, and create their own news pieces, using the knowledge from the two previous exchanges. The videos will be published on the Youtube and Vimeo channel of CGE and spread among the partners and participants.

Moreover, in the end of the third camp, there is a final public event planned to take place in Kharkiv, giving the overview of the project and reporting the successful cooperation between young people from Germany, Ukraine and Russia. The participants will get the chance to present all their works to the audience of local activist, politician, local authorities and media companies. After the presentation, the participants of the project will open a panel discussion on the topic of “Role of the Media in the Post-Truth Era” to engage the public in an open discussion.

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