The International Press Institute (IPI) today kicked off the first of a series of workshops in Kosovo bringing together local journalists and international experts on the frontlines of the fight against fake news and disinformation.

Organized in partnership with the Kosovo branch of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), the series promises to help reporters and journalism students develop expertise in fact-checking and verification.

“Accurate, impartial journalism is a cornerstone of democracy — yet journalists often find themselves struggling to separate truth from lies in our age of deep fakes, distortions and disinformation”, Timothy Large, who coordinates the Investigative Journalism for Europe programme for IPI, said.

“The good news is that tools exist to build robust methodologies for fact-checking and verification as well as debunking fake news and conspiracy theories. This training will give journalists in Kosovo access to the latest techniques from pioneers in the field.”

The training is part of Solidifying the Resilience of Kosovo’s Current and Future Journalists, an EU-supported project to restore trust in media and maintain news streams that provide objective, fact-based and professional reporting in Europe’s youngest country.

On December 9 and 10, participants will interact via video call with specialists from two organizations known for innovation in verification: Maldita, the leading Spanish non-profit tackling disinformation through fact-checking and data journalism, and Teyit, the premier independent fact-checking social enterprise in Turkey.

The programme includes sessions on the following:

‘The bad guys’: An introduction to disinformation and current trends.

How do fact-checkers work? Insight from the International Fact-Checkers Network, with methodologies, example workflows and case studies.

Debunking misinformation: Basic tools for tweets, photos, video and geolocation, with practical examples.

Geeks to the rescue: The importance of technology and building a community of fact-checkers.

Misinformation online: roots, challenges, solutions: From the psychological and social drivers of disinformation to the dangers of deep fakes.

Online investigation and verification in the age of Pinocchio: Advanced search techniques, digital news tracking, primary sources, using domain information, visual clues and more.

Health and science literacy around infodemics: From the “evidence pyramid” to the lure of clickbait, wonder drugs and the anti-vax movement.

Perils and pitfalls: From digital security to digital minimalism.

IPI and BIRN Kosovo plan to hold two similar workshops in 2021, allowing international experts to share practical tips with 100 mid-career journalists and journalism students from across Kosovo. The initiative is supported by the European Union Office in Kosovo.