New International Institute for Media in Vienna Holds First Event on Fake News at Hofburg Palace

More+More+ ♦ Published: December 20, 2022; 23:21 ♦ (Vindobona)

The newly founded "International Institute for Media (IIM-Vienna)" has set itself the task of counteracting state-controlled disinformation and making known the information wars that are going on in secret. The new think tank invites to the event "The armies of trolls and astroturfers" at the Hofburg.

The IIM-Vienna event will address the impact of disinformation campaigns on journalism and recipients in the East and West. / Picture: © OSCE / Representative on Freedom of the Media (ID 512479) [CC BY-ND 4.0]

Since Russia invaded Ukraine almost a year ago, a great information war has also broken out. Many sources from both official and unofficial agencies are being questioned. So are British intelligence, NATO or the military leadership in Moscow or Kyiv. "But some troll factories prefer to operate in secret as part of the cyberwar," according to IIM-Vienna. This is a topic the newly founded institute in Vienna wants to investigate.

The International Institute for Media is an association of scientists and journalists from various disciplines for research into the phenomenon of false news, so-called fake news, from private or state sources. We want to promote the worldwide cooperation of media professionals, prevent Fake News and thus work in the spirit of the United Nations, the European Union and the Council of Europe.

Fake News

Through Freedom House's 2013 report, the world also learned about troll factories, which were used in more than 20 countries worldwide. Unlike bot accounts, which are computer-driven and could be detected through the use of automated computer programs, trolls or astroturfers operate through accounts run by humans.

The term "fake news" was named word of the year in the U.S. in 2017, and quality journalism is in constant crisis. Trust in the media is declining worldwide and has reached a new historic low in 2022, according to IIM-Vienna.

Fake news is the term used to describe manipulatively disseminated, fake news that spreads predominantly on the Internet, especially on social networks and other social media, sometimes virally. Increasingly, fake news has also become a political buzzword and fighting term.

IIM Vienna's First Event on Fake News

"In the 1st event of IIM-Vienna, we want to look at the impact of this disinformation campaign on journalism and thus on the recipients in East and West", says the press release of IIM.

The keynote address will be given by Dr. Yulia Belinskaya, MA. She is a research assistant and lecturer at the University of Vienna. In her dissertation project, she considered three related processes: First, the mechanisms of manipulation of public opinion using trolls or astroturfers; second, discussions, scenarios and dissemination of conspiracy theories on YouTube; and third, the new journalistic language and rhetoric of "insider news" on Telegram.

Other guests are Hannes Fellner (deputy director of the institute), Fritz Hausjell(Journalism Institute at the University of Vienna; President Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Austria), Elisabeth Heresch (book author and journalist), Georg Markus Kainz (President quintessenz - Association for the Restoration of Civil Rights in the Information Age), Otmar Lahodynsky (longtime profil editor, former president, Association of European Journalists (AEJ)) and the discussion will be chaired by Fred Turnheim (Institute Director, International Institute for Media).

The event will take place on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. in the Jura Soyfer-Saal, Hofburg, Batthyanystiege, 1010 Vienna. Registration is possible on the IIM page, here!

IIM Vienna