Winners of the Eastern Europe Technology and Pop Challenge
DT Institute implements the Department of State’s Global Engagement Center-funded Information Access Fund (IAF) Sub-Award Mechanism. IAF supports civil society organizations and independent media across Europe in confronting foreign disinformation and propaganda. In support of its mandate, IAF created the Eastern Europe Technology and Pop Challenge to demonstrate and support solutions that combine tech and pop culture content to address and counter foreign propaganda and disinformation. The Eastern Europe Technology and Pop Culture Challenge was held in collaboration with The Alliance of Democracies Foundation.
After an extensive review and oral presentations of the six finalists, the Department of State’s Global Engagement Center is offering a partnership to two winners, Debunk EU, an independent technology think tank and non-governmental organization that researches disinformation and runs educational media literacy campaigns and Hromadske Radio, a Ukrainian non-commercial, non-governmental news and talk radio station that aims to contribute to the sustainable development of Ukrainian communities, and civic culture.
With the solution, Meme-fied war: countering disinformation about Russian invasion of Ukraine Debunk EU will establish a community of creators to utilize ‘memes’ to look beyond traditional methods of debunking disinformation and propaganda. This innovative approach identifies Memes as the perfect mechanism as they are highly shareable and proven to be an effective in countering and combating disinformation, but they also often interject levity and uplift spirits. By banding together with content creators from across the region, Debunk EU and its community of creators will work to counter narratives through a concise, visual format.
The solution, Ukrainian Influencers Against Russian Aggression by Hromadske Radio combines a classic technology with an innovative twist, creating a mixed-medium approach to encourage social and behavioral change by facilitating social discourse and increased media literacy. The project deploys three elements: podcast, video interview that is supported by comic strip-style images, and a radio broadcast. The project’s ‘zest’ is in an especially innovative approach that is combining video interview with comic-strip artist’s impression on the story told by the interview guest: an invited artist will provide his/her own version of the story told by the guest.
A big thanks to all organizations that submitted proposals and presented their solutions as well as the Department of State and the Alliance of Democracies for their participation and support.