EUfactcheck #8 ‘Cross-national fact checking’

This winter season students from the EJTA journalism schools will work together in cross-national teams on fact checks and blogs. A variety of European topics will be addressed: polarisation, climate change, migration, defence budgets and more. Follow us here or on our Twitter and Facebook page.

EUfactcheck, an initiative of the European Journalism Training Association (EJTA) fights misinformation about European policies and topics. Journalism students from all over Europe factcheck claims made by politicians and others and rate them. Our focus is not to debunk fake news or disinformation but to give correct information to the reader.

Latest fact-checks

Mostly True: The European population perceives climate change as a serious problem

On July 20th, 2023, the German representation of the European Commission published a press release entitled: “Eurobarometer survey: climate change is a serious problem and should be tackled more quickly”. The claim that can be derived from this is that the European population perceives climate change as a serious problem. The statistics are correctly reproduced…

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False: “300,000 rejected asylum seekers receive full welfare benefits”

Friedrich Merz, Federal Chairman of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU), said in an interview on the Television show “Welt Talk”: “People go crazy when they see that 300,000 asylum seekers are rejected, don’t leave the country, get the full benefits, get the full welfare benefits.” After checking the facts, it turns out that…

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FALSE: “On average, a Flemish livestock farm emits 20 to 28 tonnes of ammonia”

The Flemish Minister of Environment, Zuhal Demir (N-VA), said about the nitrogen crisis in Flanders that “30 tonnes of ammonia is emitted by an average Flemish livestock farm“. Although the minister at first maintained that her figure was correct, we at EUfactcheck made her administration admit that it was a ‘typo’. The claim thus turns…

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fact checking

Mostly false: Fewer than 4,400 wind turbines generate the same as three nuclear power plants

On March 1st, the Dutch right-wing political party JA21 tweeted that they would not want to see the Netherlands covered with wind turbines but instead prefer to build nuclear power plants. JA21 asserts nuclear energy to be a “clean and stable energy source”. In their tweet they claim that 4,400 wind turbines generate the same…

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FALSE: “Belgium has the highest public expenditure and the highest structural deficit”

Bart De Wever, the mayor of the Belgian city of Antwerp and chairman of the Flemish right-wing political party N-VA, claimed that “Belgium has the highest public expenditure and the highest structural deficit of the EU.” EUfactcheck looked into this claim and the source it was based on, and found out that the statement made…

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Mostly true: “Sustainable aviation leads to job loss, higher travel costs and low passenger demand”

An article titled “Sustainable Aviation: Increased cost of greener aviation will curtail pax demand” posted in TR Business (a business to business trade magazine) on 17 April 2023 reports that greener aviation will lead to a loss of thousands of jobs, higher travel costs and low passenger demand. As climate change due to air carbonization…

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Mostly true: ‘Terrifying interactive map reveals the areas that could be plunged underwater by 2050’

On the 19th of February 2023 Sam Tonkin, a Britain based journalist from the Daily Mail published an article about sea level rises around the United Kingdom that could cause floodings in the country. Tonkin stated in the article: ‘Terrifying interactive map reveals the areas that could be plunged UNDERWATER by 2050 amid sea level…

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Mostly true: Violence against emergency workers is on the rise

On January 18, 2023, Marie-Fleur Agema, a member of the political party Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom, PVV), said: “Violence against emergency workers is on the rise… One in five healthcare workers wants to leave their job in healthcare because of aggression and fear of aggression.” The claim turns out to be mostly…

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False: “Cars are related to pollution, but have nothing to do with climate change”

Former Barcelona mayor Xavier Trias stated in an interview that “cars are related to pollution, but have nothing to do with climate change”. He added that “we should not mix concepts, since then good-faith people end up joining battles which are not connected”. After analyzing different scientific reports, the claim turns out to be false. …

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Latest blog posts

Media analysis: The journalistic treatment of eco-anxiety in the Spanish, British and French press

Although the term ‘eco-anxiety’ already existed before, it has gained significant presence in European media over the past few years. We have examined La Vanguardia (Spain), The Guardian (UK) and Le Monde (France) to see how three prestigious newspapers from different countries address this phenomenon. In all cases, we present a quantitative and qualitative analysis.…

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Blog: Fact-checking a climate change-related claim in the Spanish local elections campaign

Former Barcelona mayor Xavier Trias stated in an interview that “cars are related to pollution, but have nothing to do with climate change”. We decided to check it through different scientific reports. To analyse the claim, it was also necessary to consider the political context and to put Trias’ statement into relation to some recent…

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Blog: Media and the pitfalls of a political dog whistle

Jarosław Kaczyński, former prime minister of Poland and current chairman of the leading government national-conservative party (PiS), caused a public outcry on social media and broke the news by stating Poland’s low birth rate is caused by women’s alcohol consumption. Kaczyński mentioned he was “joking a bit” but his statement spread like wildfire, increasing his…

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Blog: How does news media choose the experts it gives voice to regarding war in Europe?

The year 2022 has had a difficult start for Europe. In February Russia started a war against Ukraine. This has been challenging for Europe, and perhaps especially for Finland as it is Russia’s neighbor. As journalist students from Finland, we found ourselves wondering who are the Finnish experts talking about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the media.…

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Media analysis: Finnish news media emphasized “aiding” in the coverage of Ukraine war whereas “uncontrolled immigration” in 2015

In our media analysis, we compare news about Ukrainian war refugees to the news about the refugee crisis in 2015. All news were published by Finnish public media broadcasting company Yle. We wanted to see if there is a difference in how media writes about people fleeing from Ukraine and refugees in 2015. We found…

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Media analysis: Finnish media stays united behind universal military service

Finland’s defence capability became the focus of international media attention after Russia invaded Ukraine. Finland holds a very special geopolitical position in Europe because it has 1300 kilometres border with Russia. In particular, Finland’s position regarding the defense union NATO has become a question of interest. Finland’s military service system is universal, which means that…

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Pastoral workers help young people with suicidal thoughts

As several studies show, corona-lockdowns have led to increased psychological distress to all ages. International suicide hotlines, where pastoral workers take the time to listen, might help. This video is linked to the fact-check article Drastic increase in suicide attempts by children. Leave your comments, thoughts and suggestions in the box below. Take note: your…

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

The EUFACTCHECK project

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.

Our history

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.

By January-February 2019 a manual with guidelines and tips & tricks was published. In February 2020 a second Bootcamp will be organised in Ljubljana, with financial help from the Evens Foundation. This Train the Trainer focused on Central Eastern European countries, some new schools joined this project.
During corona the EJTA-schools continued to verify claims and publish fact checks. Now we are looking ahead to the 2024 EU elections.

For information about the EUfactcheck project please contact the programme manager: carien.touwen@hu.nl 

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