European Perceptions about Covid-19: Lessons from the Infodemic for the Future of Media and Technology

10 March 2021 | 11h00 – 12h30 (CET)  | ​Zoom webinar


Between August 24 and September 12 2020, IPSOS fielded a 19-countries survey commissioned by the International Republican Institute (IRI), the ALDE party and ELF. This flagship survey included a questionnaire that measured European public opinion perception about Covid-19. The results of this questionnaire resonate with the position of many scholars and experts who have called the Covid-19 crisis an ‘infodemic’. Put simply, the pandemic and the international effort to deal with it has been an entry point for misinformation and disinformation campaigns. And, once again, this raises the question of the future role of science, technology and the media in our societies.

The proposed event will tackle this question and discuss lessons learned from the Covid-19 infodemic for the way we use media and technology, in view of upcoming challenges to our economic and social models. In his keynote speech, Gerd Leonhard, renowned futurist speaker and author, will outline his ‘definitive future’ foresights such as the End of Oil, the reboot of (social) media and dramatic action on global warming, as well as his ‘preferred futures’ such as a sustainable capitalism (people planet purpose and prosperity), the rise of digital ethics and a new multilateralism. The keynote will be followed by a panel discussion among distinguished participants.

In 2021, EU policymakers will discuss an array of legislative proposals that will regulate, among other things, social media platforms, digital services and markets, and network security. If we manage to agree on the right mix of policies that harness the power of science and technology for the benefit of humanity, the future can be better than we think.

Welcome Remarks  by Bart Groothuis, member of the European Parliament on behalf of the Dutch People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), which is part of Renew Europe. He is a member of the Industry, Research and Energy committee and a substitute member for the committee Security and Defence. Former head of cybersecurity for the Dutch Ministry of Defence, he focuses on cybersecurity, the energy transition and disinformation & foreign interference.

Key note speaker: Gerd Leonhard, top-rated futurist, keynote speaker, and presenter specialised in the future of technology and humanity, digital transformation, and artificial intelligence. He is the CEO of The Futures Agency, a global network of over 40 leading futurists, speakers and personalities, a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA, London) and an advisory board member of the Indian and Canadian Research Institutes.

Speakers include:
Dr. Antonios Nestoras is Head of the Policy and Research Unit at the European Liberal Forum. Previously a researcher at the Institute for European Studies (IES) and adjunct professor at the Vesalius College of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), he worked as an advisor for political foundations and political groups in the European Parliament. He holds a double PhD in Social and Political Science from VUB and the University of Antwerp.

Raluca Cîrju is a Junior Data Analyst at the ALDE Secretariat. She provides data research and analysis to support the activities of the Research & Empowerment Unit and develops new analytics and database solutions. She has a background in European Studies, EU Law, IT andMathematics.

Anneli Ahonen is Head of East StratCom Task Force at the European External Action Service. Before joining the Task Force, she worked as a foreign reporter for the Finnish state broadcaster Yleisradio. With her background in Russian Language and Literature and Journalism, for eight years she also reported for the largest Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat from St. Petersburg and reported, among other things, on Russia’s disinformation campaigns.

Mathias Sundin is CEO of Warp News and Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Warp Institute. A former member of the Swedish Parliament from Liberal People’s Party and Deputy Mayor. Mr. Sundin is a mentor and jury member at the XPRIZE Visioneers, member of the World Frontiers Forum at Harvard & MIT and TEDx-speaker.

Alexandre Alaphilippe is the Executive Director and co-founder of the EU DisinfoLab. He has coordinated work on the organisation’s largest investigations into Information Operations linked to Russia, India and China. He is a member of a number of working groups in Brussels and Washington DC linked to platform regulation, transatlantic relations, and hybrid threats, where he emphasises the role of civil society in maintaining democratic values. Mr. Alaphilippe has published papers for the Brookings Institution and his work has been featured on CNN, BBC, Le Monde, and Politico.

Moderated by Jennifer Baker. Better known as Brusselsgeek, she has been a journalist in print, radio and television for 20 years, the last 10+ specialising in EU policy and legislation in the technology sector. Passionate about the importance of rigorous reporting to society, she is one of the most respected commentators on everything inside the Brussels Bubble – from Brexit to security, fundamental rights to disinformation.

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