The European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) is a project that aims at creating and supporting the work of an independent multidisciplinary community capable of contributing to a deeper understanding of the disinformation phenomenon and to increase societal resilience to it.

The European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) has started its activities on 1 June 2020. EDMO will serve as a hub for fact-checkers, academics and other relevant stakeholders to collaborate with each other and actively link with media organisations, media literacy experts, and provide support to policy makers.

The activities of the European Digital Media Observatory will be based on five pillars:

  1. Mapping of fact-checking organisations in Europe and supporting them by fostering joint and cross-border activities and dedicated training modules.
  2. Mapping, supporting and coordinating of research activities on disinformation at the European level, including the creation and regular update of a global repository of peer-reviewed scientific articles on disinformation.
  3. Building a public portal providing media practitioners, teachers and citizens with information and materials aimed at increasing awareness, building resilience to online disinformation and supporting media literacy campaigns.
  4. Design of a framework to ensure secure and privacy-protected access to platforms’ data for academic researchers working to better understand disinformation.
  5. Support to public authorities in the monitoring of the policies put in place by online platforms to limit the spread and the impact of disinformation.

The Observatory will build its main features in two phases. The first phase will focus on the deployment of a core service infrastructure and will define the governance rules of the Observatory. The second will establish EDMO national/regional Digital Media Research Hubs in the whole EU territory.

The Governance

The European Digital Media Observatory is managed by a consortium led by the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. The consortium includes the company Athens Technology Center from Greece, Aahrus University from Denmark, and the fact-checking organisation Pagella Politica from Italy.

EDMO has a governance structure completely independent from public authorities, including the European Commission. The Governance is constituted of an advisory board in charge of defining the functioning rules and the strategy of the Observatory and the executive board responsible for implementing the contract and in consultation with the advisory board.

Background

The creation of the Observatory is one of the elements in the Commission’s detailed Action Plan against Disinformation, published on 5 December 2018. The plan aims to reinforce capabilities and strengthen cooperation between Member States and the EU in four key areas: improve detection, coordinate responses, work with online platforms and industry, raise awareness and empower citizens to respond to disinformation online.

On 30 June 2020, the Commission launched the second call for proposals to extend the reach of the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO). The second phase of the project will fund with 9 million EUR through the Connecting Europe Facility for the creation of national/multinational digital media research hubs across Europe.

On 1 October 2019, the Commission launched the first call for tenders for the creation of the European Digital Media Observatory. The call for tenders of up to €2.5 million has been won by a consortium led by the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, in May 2020.