Contested truth vs. industrial - scale fakery

A course on disinformation debunking

Contested truth vs. industrial - scale fakery

The course fee - that includes tuition fee, accommodation (student residence halls with shared rooms 2-3/ room), meals (breakfast and lunch for each day), local transport and the cost of the leisure time programs - is 470 EUR. All applicants are required to pay 70 EUR (out of this 470) as registration fee within 15 days of submitting their application. The registration fee is non-refundable.

Credits: 2 EC
Our courses offer ECTS points, which may be accepted for credit transfer by the participants' home universities. Those who wish to obtain these credits should inquire about the possible transfer at their home institution prior to their enrollment. The International Strategy Office will send a transcript to those who have fulfilled all the necessary course requirements and request one.

Course description

Do you want to learn basics of practice and theory behind fake news debunking? Then choose the course held by black-belt journos and leading academics of the field from Budapest. The faculty of the course has been awarded by a grant from the European Union in 2021 to develop a fact checking project and a disinformation debunking site. Learn from young journalists about the nuts and bolts of professional expertise, skills, mindsets and technologies behind fact checking and follow the theoretical courses of the university team to contextualize contemporary contested media phenomena in currents developments of media studies. The course covers professional and legal basics of the digital ecosystem of truth telling, and provides a detailed analysis of textual ramifications of telling truth or lies, let them be images, sounds or written texts. The course is concluded by six at-hand seminars by professional journalists from, one of Hungary’s leading independent news site focusing on various professional and technical aspects of interrogating facts, images and stories. These sessions give you opportunities to try yourself as a fact checker!


Students are expected to bring a laptop to the course.


New Media and Political Polarisation- Dr. Ferenc Hammer, ELTE Media

According to a long-standing consensus among students of digital media, the current polarization of Western societies is mainly owing to growing economic inequalities. Recent studies, however, suggest otherwise, arguing that polarization has been enhanced by social media platforms, but, contrary to expectations, not because of the alleged existence of echo-chambers and filter bubbles, but precisely because exposure to dissenting opinion triggers anger and frustration in many. This presentation offers an overview of some of the recent studies in the field.

Smear vs. Scandal- Dr. Péter Bajomi- Lázár- BGE

Smear appears to be highly similar to scandal, as both expose alleged transgressions of social and legal norms, both are made public by the media in a contemporary environment, and both may harm one’s reputation. Smear, however, is widely seen as a malicious practice, while scandal—or, more precisely, political scandal—is generally accepted as a legitimate instance of watchdog journalism. How can one tell smear from scandal, if at all? The lecture attempts to delineate and to distinguish these two concepts, arguing that the two concepts relate differently to morality, representation, and journalism ethics.

Legal requirements for the quality of information- Dr. Gábor Polyák, ELTE Media

Legal and ethical framework for the quality of public information. Is there a legal obligation to tell the truth? What is the requirement of balanced information? Guarantees of the reliability of information, public interest information data. What organizational guarantees ensure independent and impartial information?

European policy proposals and solutions against disinformation- Dr. Gábor Polyák, ELTE Media

The European Union's strategy to combat disinformation. Cooperation with platform providers. New European regulatory solutions to address the legal situation of platform providers: the Digital Services Act and the Artificial Intelligence Act.

Misleading data visuals in political communication - Attila Bátorfy, ELTE Media

The lecture discusses how politics and political communication abuse data visualizations, The presentation offers a systematic presentation of usual cognitive and graphical mistakes and distortions. These cases studies provide participants with knowledge and skills to analyze data based political visuals in a critical way.

How to do misleading data visuals? – Workshop by Attila Bátorfy, ELTE Media)

The workshop offers participants an opportunity to try themselves as political communicators with dubious goals to mislead audiences with graphs and images. The practice helps to understand the manipulation process and to spot usual markers of misleading visual practices.

Funny, not funny. The role of satire and humor in delivering fake news- Szilvia Német, ELTE Media

In the 21st century media environment infotainment became a norm and humor a must. How does reliable publishing come through if alternative facts and fiction promise more fun? Do we really read the news or just consume a representation of it? The presentation offers a glimpse into the “weaponization” of memes, and the introduction to a type of information that is not assessed according to its veracity or objectivity.

The network effect of "truth making"- Szilvia Német, ELTE Media

On social media a message gradually acquires credibility as more and more people subscribe to it. Once a threshold is crossed, a rumor becomes so widespread that it is considered as 'common knowledge' (Ratkiewicz et al. 2010). The presentation revolves around the concept of viral politics, and it's potential misuses, when political campaigns simulate participation in the lack of organic responses. Coordinated inauthentic behavior does just that in order to make believe that there is a larger than actual consensus behind a message.


  • Insight into Hungary’s media landscape- Péter Uj, chief aditor at
  • Introduction to fact-checking principles- Blanka Zöldi, chief editor at, journalist at
  • Choosing fact-check topics and investigating the source- Blanka Zöldi, chief editor at, journalist at
  • Open-source investigation: statistics and databases- Nóra Diószegi-Horváth, editor at, journalist at
  • Search, image and video analysis- András Király, contributor at, journalist at
  • Story writing and presentation of evidence- Eszter Neuberger, editor at, journalist at


The application form is available on this link.

Information on fee and refund