Difficult to check Corona claims for students of journalism

EUfactcheck takes another course during the corona crisis because we want to safeguard the journalistic and methodological quality of the published fact checks.
Times are strange and unpredictable now, with governmental regulations straining the work of journalists, with media dealing with changing truths from one hour to the next, with the undefeatable speed of social media countering false claims and statements, with difficulties for students of journalism to contact experts.
The educational core of our project (we’re not a 24/7 fact-checking site) and the intensive coaching of our students are also influenced by the closure of universities all over Europe and restrictions on information.
That’s why we’ve asked our journalism students not to focus specifically on debunking claims on corona. These will mainly turn out to be uncheckable anyway or have already been checked by other fact checkers. We did ask our students to publish blog posts about the media approaches and to monitor how journalism is handling this changed reality in Europe and beyond. If the circumstances allow it, our students can choose to check news on corona.
We will keep you informed with reliable and fact based information.

Latest fact-checks

False: “Gargles with warm water, salt or vinegar eliminate corona virus”

A supposed corona virus prevention formula was circulating on the internet in previous months. According to the text, shared on the WhatsApp platform by Brazilian users, gargling with water, salt and vinegar is sufficient to eliminate the virus from the person’s throat, where it “stays for four days before going to her lung” (data given…

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fact-check uncheckable

Uncheckable: “Trains are 10 times more environmentally friendly than airplanes”

The Belgian and Austrian railway companies NMBS and ÖBB claim that the new night train between Brussels and Vienna is 10 times more environmentally friendly than airplanes. This claim was published in many Belgian media as ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’, ‘Knack’ and ‘Dewereldmorgen’. The claim turns out to be uncheckable. Both NMBS and ÖBB were unable…

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False: China is acquisitioning EU companies during Corona times

Earlier this month, on April 12th, Margrethe Vestager, the executive vice-president of the European Commission gave an interview to the Financial Times, in which she stated: “European countries should buy stakes in companies to stave off the threat of Chinese takeovers, the EU competition chief has said, as Brussels steps up plans to protect businesses…

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fact checking

Mostly false: “Austria distributes masks to all citizens while the Netherlands don’t have enough for health care staff”

During a debate that questioned a lack of medical supplies the then party leader of 50PLUS, Henk Krol, stated: “How is it possible that Austria distributes masks at supermarkets and in public transport, and the Netherlands do not even have enough for their health care staff?” He asked this question to the Dutch Prime Minister…

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fact-check uncheckable

Uncheckable: Non-medical face masks are more infection-nurturing than virus-repellent if they are consistently put in handbags and reworn.

During an interview with the Austrian daily newspaper Der Standard Austrian health expert Claudia Wild stated the following: “The climate between the authority- or virus-thralled people and the ones who actually looked into the subject of these ridiculous masks making any kind of difference regarding infection, is getting worse. They (non-medical face masks) are more…

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fact checking

Mostly false: Matteo Salvini: “Recovery Fund is a loan, like the ESM”

On the 20th of May, Matteo Salvini, leader of the Italian Far Right party “The league”, rejected the proposal for a post-Covid EU grant-based recovery plan, outlined by the French President Emmanuel Macron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and unveiled in a surprising press conference on the 18th of May. A statement issued on…

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fact checking

Mostly false: “History seems to be repeating itself, in the Middle Ages the Plague also entered Europe via Italy”

Bob Van Hee, professor emeritus in medical history of the University of Antwerp made a statement in an interview on the website of Flemish public broadcaster VRT that made some people frown: ‘History seems to be repeating itself: in the Middle Ages, the Plague also entered Europe via Italy, just as COVID-19’. The claim turns…

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True: “Microchips are getting under the skin of thousands in Sweden”

News website euronews.com published an article concerning microchips in Sweden. Last update was introduced on 15th of May 2020. Journalist Pascale Davies wrote: “Thousands of people in Sweden are inserting tiny microchips under their skin”. The claim turns out to be true. Microchips implanted into one’s body are supposed to make daily life convenient. They…

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Latest blog posts

© Kayla Empey, 2020

Media monitoring: the relationship between the coronavirus and weather in British media

Since the coronavirus outbreak, there has been an ongoing conversation within the media worldwide about weather and its potential impact on the virus. Weather is a complex topic, as there are a lot of aspects to be considered. Elements such as temperature, humidity, latitude, people staying inside more when it is cold, vitamins due to…

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female heads of state gender equality

Blog: EU: Do female heads of state ensure gender equality?

Writers Julia Harder and Gwen Rochat, Journalism students at Windesheim University Zwolle, The Netherlands, noticed a tweet from the Icelandic Prime Minister, saying Iceland is the frontrunner in gender equality. In making this factcheck, we realized there is no yes/no answer to our question: the situation is far more complex. For example, we expected that…

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Blog: Widely known COVID-19 conspiracies in Georgia

Coronavirus pandemic has been accompanied with a dissemination of fake news and conspiracy theories. Georgia was no exception, as various groups, including pro-Kremlin, ultra-national, and radical groups have been referring to COVID-19 as an artificially created virus, spreading fear, and associating the virus with the 5G Internet. One of the authors of the disinformation and…

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© Veera Nikkanen, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences

Blog: Covid-19 News Coverage Highlights Agriculture’s Dependence on Migrant Workers

During the first weeks of the pandemic, headlines were about people hoarding toilet paper and long-lasting goods such as pasta and dry yeast. The concern about agriculture and gardening industries started to gain headlines as the pandemic continued to spread We analysed media coverage of agricultural themes from March 19 until the end of April.

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Media monitoring: Sports websites look back and inspire to start moving

During this lockdown we started “media monitoring” of sports websites. This implies that we’ve been scanning different sports websites during Corona times to find out how they approach news reporting right now and if we could find any similarities or differences between them. During this period we decided to focus on three different sports websites,…

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Photo Credits: Elina Sonkajärvi, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences

Blog: News coverage on cross-border working revealed a divided EU in the fight against covid-19

The free movement of people is one of the four fundamental rights of the EU. Due to the newly introduced border restrictions across the continent caused by the pandemic of Covid-19, this right cannot be fulfilled as before. Terminologically, the media coverage of the situation has been framed with the use of words with negative…

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European Journalism Training Association EJTA
Council of Europe
evens foundation
Group photo EUFACTCHECK 240119

About Us

EUFACTCHECK is the fact-checking project of the European Journalism Training Association (EJTA) that intends to build a sustainable curriculum unit on fact-checking within a European network of Journalism schools.

Through fact-checking European political claims and trying to tackle misinformation, we want our students and our public to grow a deeper insight and interest in democratic processes, both on national and European level.

EUFACTCHECK wishes to motivate fact-based debate in the EU and to stimulate media and information literacy.

‘The Future Looks Bright!’

After the success of the students’ publications, the participants of EJTA’s fact-checking project EUFACTCHECK decided at the EJTA AGM in Paris (July 2019) to move on with the project and to take new steps in the academic year 2019-2020.

At the EJTA Teachers’ Conference in Dortmund (October 2019)  practical details were discussed and a new publication schedule was created for autumn 2019.

By January-February 2019 a manual with guidelines and tips & tricks will be published and on 13-14 February 2020 a second Bootcamp will be organised in Ljubljana, with financial help from the Evens Foundation. This Train the Trainer will be focussing on Central Eastern European countries, but also on new participants that want to publish on the platform.

All the information about this event: nadia.vissers@ap.be

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Suggest a fact-check

“What is this politician saying??” Did you read or hear a politician or public figure make a questionable claim? Send us an email with the claim and maybe we will fact-check it.

Please include the source (url and date) where you found the claim.

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