“We cannot fight the pandemic with lies and disinformation, nor with hatred and agitation.” (Chancellor Merkel in front of the European Parliament on 8 July 2020) The rise of populists and the blending of fact and fiction through fake news are not only changing the political process in Germany and other Western democracies, but also societies as such. What challenges does present-day society face as manipulation and disinformation increase? And how can it react to them? The phenomenon of populism is widespread throughout Europe and all the more present in the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Populist, as well as racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy fantasies and fake news are regrettable expressions thereof. They spread freely and uncensored on the Internet and can create a climate of exclusion and mistrust. At the same time, ever new online services (Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, TikTok, etc.) are expanding the communication channels for populists and adherents of conspiracy fantasies, as they seem to serve the “currency” of the attention economy of these new media in an optimal way.
The aim of the event is to present research-derived, concrete counter-strategies and instructions for action as an appropriate and adequate response to the current phenomenon of populism throughout Europe for, among others, politicians, educational actors and the (digital) economy. In this context, differences, similarities and best practice approaches in the EU member states will be compared in a Europe-wide perspective.
The event is one of a series of events organized by the Ministry for Federal and European Affairs and Regional Development of Lower Saxony in Brussels and Lower Saxony over the last years.
Welcome by the moderator
Holger Beckmann (Radio correspondent at ARD Brussels studio)
Welcome and introduction by the Minister for Federal and European Affairs and Regional Development of Lower Saxony Birgit Honé
Panel discussion with
- Prof. Dr. Monika Oberle (Göttingen), since October 2011 Professor of Political Science/Civic Education at the University of Göttingen. She is currently i.a. spokesperson for the Society for Civic Education Didactics and Civic Youth and Adult Education (GPJE), board member of the Society for Empirical Educational Research (GEBF), as well as member of the scientific advisory board of the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb). She was active for many years as a consultant in extracurricular non-party civic education. Her field of work is dedicated particularly to the empirical research into the effects and conditions for successful civic education.
- Brikena Xhomaqi (Brussels), Director of the European “Lifelong Learning Platform” (Brussels). The “Lifelong Learning Platform – European Civil Society for Education” exists since 2006 and represents more than 40 Europe-wide civil society networks in the field of education. These networks currently represent more than 50,000 educational institutions and associations covering all areas of formal, non-formal and informal learning.
- Dr. Florian Hartleb (Tallinn),Consultant on digitalisation in Germany, PhD on populism in 2004 (summa cum laude), teaching positions currently in 2020 at the Catholic University of Eichstätt, as well as at the Police College in Aschersleben (Saxony-Anhalt), non-fiction author (Lone Wolves. The New Terrorism of Right-Wing Single Actors, Hoffmann und Campe 2018 and Federal Agency for Civic Education), research associate at the Brussels-based Think tank Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, keynote speaker and textbook author.
German/English interpretation will be provided