Jonathan Lundberg, journalist, author of two books on the Internet and trainer at Fojo concluded the festivities at Fojo’s 50th anniversary jubilee lecture with a speech on how distrust of the media has grown within the populist right wing. The presence of the Sweden Democrats in social media is overwhelming and contributes to the creation of various extremely polarised compartments undermining democratic discourse. Lundberg spoke about how he came into contact with Fojo’s Faktajouren during the pandemic. Together with Annelie Frank, who received a special commendation for her initiative, Lundberg was involved in more than twenty seminars and workshops, with almost one hundred Swedish journalists, on digital tools to expose online influence.
Fact-checking is challenging. Its research produces illuminating results and the information that needs to be countered online often leads to the most knowledge-resistant environments imaginable. Is it at all possible to reduce polarisation? Lundberg was of the firm opinion that it is wrong for us to silence each other without letting the light of fact-checking shine. The importance of collaboration between different actors to counter misinformation is his conviction.
Faktajouren, the Swedish fact-checking initiative, has a crucial role to play here. Everyone needs to become a fact-checker and to distinguish facts from lies. Read a short excerpt from his speech below.
“It’s clear to me that Faktajouren has never been as important as it is right now, and I’m grateful that Fojo has spearheaded this initiative. I think facts are more important now than ever. I think not only journalists, but citizens in general, need to become “fact-checkers”. We all need to learn the basic methods and tools for separating truth from falsehoods online.
I’m grateful to Annelie, who began building Faktajouren many years ago, before the pandemic, the U.S. election, and the war in Ukraine. It wasn’t obvious for everyone then that Faktajouren was needed – but I think it’s obvious now. Thank you Annelie for creating this.
And thank you Fojo, for giving us all the opportunity to become better journalists.