BIRN and SHARE Join Efforts to Counter Digital Freedom Violations

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In Southern and Eastern Europe, where online disinformation campaigns are increasingly endangering guaranteed individual freedoms and a notable decline in internet safety is ubiquitous, BIRN Hub will partner with SHARE Foundation to monitor digital threats and trends in their occurrence, raise awareness about violations of digital freedom and issue policy recommendations.

The organisations will identify the main players involved in disinformation and propaganda by establishing a Digital Monitoring database. The database will cover the state of digital rights in targeted countries by documenting cases of violations of digital rights and freedoms, with descriptions of cases and corresponding sources.

The project, supported by Civitates, will monitor digital freedom violations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia.

The database will be part of the broader online BIRN Investigative Resource Desk (BIRD), a new resource platform for investigative journalists expected to launch this fall. The interactive database will allow the general public to access data collected through the monitoring system.

The use of SHARE Foundation’s expertise will result in the creation of a detailed methodology and guidelines for monitoring violations of digital rights and freedoms, as well as training for monitors to successfully gather data and file them in the newly created database. A three-day training for monitors will be held in the second half of July in Perast, Montenegro.

In parallel, BIRN journalists will produce and publish five investigations related to the topic. On the basis of monitoring activities, a one-of-a-kind cross-regional report will be produced, to be presented at the closing event.

The database will provide the data for periodical reports on the state of digital rights and freedoms in targeted countries. In terms of outcomes, the cross-regional report will compile collected data in order to introduce public to trends in violations of digital freedoms.

Continuous monitoring and reporting on digital threats will contribute to BIRN’s wider efforts to promote accurate and unbiased information. It will strengthen the capacities and skills of the network’s journalists, as well as exposing and countering threats that journalists and other engaged individuals face on a regular basis.