Times of Malta will be launching a fact-checking initiative focused on identifying disinformation and false claims made by organisations, public and political figures.

The initiative is part of an EU-funded project establishing a Mediterranean hub of fact-checking organisations across Malta, Greece, and Cyprus, named MedDMO.

The fact-checking initiative will begin in the first months of 2023, offering Times of Malta readers clear, sourced and data-based fact-checks about a variety of local issues. 

Aside from developing its own fact-checks, Times of Malta will be collaborating with the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Malta to analyse the impact of disinformation campaigns around the Mediterranean and to develop tools to support journalists, students and the general public in identifying fake news.

This project reflects Times of Malta’s ongoing commitment towards combating misinformation and disinformation, as well as towards improving media literacy and promoting transparency in Malta.

Through its work as part of the MedDMO hub, Times of Malta will collaborate with other international fact-checking organisations to create a shared network of resources and strengthen the accuracy of online content, while raising awareness about the dangers of misinformation.

The MedDMO partners from across Malta, Greece and Cyprus.The MedDMO partners from across Malta, Greece and Cyprus.

“Social media has opened up a new world of information and entertainment, but it’s also inflated a massive bubble of dangerous misinformation. Meanwhile, people in power continue peddling terms like ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’, as big money is routed to promote conspiracy theories and lies,” said Times of Malta editor-in-chief Herman Grech.

“It is up to the independent media to continue to separate fact from fiction and we need to do this before we hit the point of no return,” Grech added.

“We’re confident that with the help of our international partners, new tools, and with an excellent researcher on board, backed by Malta’s biggest newsroom, we will provide a much-needed service to our readers.”

Neville Borg will lead the local fact-checking initiative.Neville Borg will lead the local fact-checking initiative.

Times of Malta’s fact-checking activities will be led by Neville Borg. Borg has worked as a researcher within several institutional settings for over 10 years, in various fields, including culture and the arts, health, economics, and digital media.

He most recently held the role of lead researcher at Arts Council Malta. Borg is also a founding member of Wikimedia Community Malta, an organisation working to improve factual, reliable and verifiable knowledge about Malta and Maltese social and cultural issues through Wikipedia.

MedDMO forms part of the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO), an independent observatory bringing together researchers, academics and media organisations to detect and analyse disinformation campaigns, organise media literacy activities, and support authorities in monitoring the digital media ecosystem. EDMO has been operating eight regional hubs across Europe and has now launched six new hubs (including MedDMO), expanding its coverage to all 27 EU Member States, as well as Norway.

The MedDMO project is funded by the EU’s Digital Europe programme and comprises several leading media organisations and academic institutions across Malta, Greece and Cyprus. The interdisciplinary MedDMO consortium is listed below:

  • Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (coordinating partner)
  • Times of Malta
  • University of Malta
  • Agence France Presse (AFP)
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
  • Athens Technology Centre
  • Ellinika Hoaxes
  • University of Cyprus
  • Cyprus University of Technology

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