Fighting Disinformation

Fighting Disinformation

The course fee for 1-week courses - that includes tuition fee, accommodation (student residence halls with shared rooms 2-3/ room), meals (breakfast and lunch), 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 10 days of submitting their application. The registration fee is non-refundable.

Credits: 3 EC
Our course offers 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.

Venue: ELTE Faculty of Humanities, 1088 Budapest, Múzeum körút 6-8, Main Building, Room: 11, ground floor

Opening Ceremony venue: ELTE Faculty of Law, 1053 Budapest, Egyetem tér 1–3., Aula Magna (Monday, 10:00)


For students who do not need a visa to travel to Hungary:

For students who need a visa to travel to Hungary:

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 professsional 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 idependent news site focusing on various professional and technical aspects of interrogating facts, images and stories. These sessions give you opprtunities to try yourself as a fact checker!

Requirements: There are no special requirements. Students are expected to bring a laptop to the course.


New Media and Political Polarisation (Ferenc Hammer, ELTE Media)

According to a long-standing consensus among students of digital media, the current polarisation of Western societies is mainly owing to growing economic inequalities. Recent studies, however, suggest otherwise, arguing that polarisation 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 (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 (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 organisational guarantees ensure independent and impartial information?

European policy proposals and solutions against disinformation (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 - a lecture (Attila Bátorfy, ELTE Media)

The lecture discusses how politics and political communication abuse data visualisations, 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? – a workshop (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 undestand 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 (Szilvi Német, ELTE Media)

In the 21st century media environment infotainment became a norm and humor a must. How does reliable publishishing come through if alternative facts and fiction promise more fun? Do we really read the news or 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" (Szilvi 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 rumour 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 behaviour does just that in order to make believe that there is a larger than actual consensus behind a message. 

The 6x90-minute session workshop of the team from 444-hu:

  • 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

Guest lecturers

Péter Uj, Blanka Zöldi, Nóra Diószegi-Horváth, András Király, Eszter Neuberger, and Péter Bajomi-Lázár, BGE)

From the website that was founded by former editor-in-chief of the Index website, Péter Ùj, along with other former Index journalists. It is aimed at the Internet generation and features short opinion pieces and investigative reporting. The editorial team regularly collaborates with the investigative journalism centre Direkt 36.