The Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, the Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University in Brno, and Newton Media are launching a joint website called Infomore.cz. Its aim is to reduce the so-called infodemia, which means the excessive dissemination of distorted and misleading information on a particular problem. It relates not only to the current Covid-19 pandemic but also to other topics.
The new website will reveal the inadequate work of journalists with data, the use of inappropriate reference examples and comparisons or insufficient knowledge of medical terminology. “We intend to dedicate the following weeks and months to the analysis of the media coverage of the pandemic, to point out the good and bad practice of media coverage,” says the leading researcher of the project, Václav Moravec from the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, who is also one of the most influential TV presenters in the Czech Republic.
The Newton Media analytical team is already contributing to the project with analyzes of print, online, and social media using artificial intelligence tools. These analyzes should detect inconsistencies, manipulations, misleading, alarming, or distorted information and map their spread through the Czech media and their impact on the public. “Through media analysis of Newton Media and the Faculty of Social Sciences, we want to reflect on journalistic practice but also on all those who express themselves in the media space,” describes Petr Herian, founder and owner of Newton Media.
The website is intended primarily for the media, data analysts, professional public and other users who are actively involved in the Covid-19 pandemic discussions. According to Moravec, two animated cycles Glossary and Infodemia are targeted at the general public. “The secondary goal of the project is to strengthen the health awareness and media literacy of the public, which can be one of the preventive steps in relation to infodemia,” adds Moravec.
The infodemia project is supported by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic. In the evaluation of projects seeking financial support in the fourth public tender of the ÉTA Program, it was ranked in the first place, which demonstrates the quality and expertise of the entire research team. In addition to Petr Herian, Ivan Vodochodský, Věra Čarná, Alena Zachová, Tomáš Kůst and Vít Kadlec are involved in the project on behalf of Newton. “We believe that the results of our research, which are only at the beginning, will be incorporated into the education of future journalists at the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University,” concludes Václav Moravec.