Project events and Research trips – Newsletter #3


Dr. Joachim Rother


Hello and welcome to issue #3 of our Upgrade Democracy Newsletter

Time is flying and our team has been busy researching our topics on all sectors. But also: event season is starting, which means that you might want to meet us at some of the upcoming (online) events! Cathleen will be moderating a session on the DSA and its implications on social media monitoring at re:publica in Berlin on June 7th, Charlotte is taking part virtually in a EuroDIG panel on platforms as critical infrastructure (19-21 June) and I (that’s Joachim, writing this, hey there 😊 ) will be tuning in virtually to several sessions on how to counter disinformation at the RightsCon Costa Rica taking place from 5th to 8th of June. So, plenty of opportunities to connect and talk!

Also, I am super excited to share that travels are starting!

Yep, we are travelling. Pretty cool right? And what a privilege this is! A big part of our engagement in the field of countering disinformation is listening to and learning from others! Globally! Why is that? Because we are fully aware that numerous actors out there are already doing amazing work. And we want to get to know ALL of them! (Well, I guess there are a little too many, but we are trying anyway! Promised! Oh, by the way: In case there are organizations or individuals you absolutely want us to engage with, let us know!!)

The point is: There is no reason in trying to rescue the world alone, right? Because there are many countries and regions worldwide facing similar challenges when it comes to fighting disinformation. So why not join forces? And that’s the core idea behind our field trips: By building sustainable networks with like-minded individuals as well as organizations worldwide, we are trying to understand better how to effectively counter disinformation, especially with regards to democratic elections. Identifying good practices, understanding their specific contexts, needs and modi operandi, will hopefully allow us to transfer or adapt similar ideas and concepts to Germany in the end. That’s the goal.

First stop will be East Africa, more specifically Kenya’s capital Nairobi. Together with CIPESA, a renown Think Tank from neighboring Uganda, we will be hosting more than 25 initiatives and individuals from all over Africa to discuss the most pressing issues, as well as new trends in protecting states and democracies online. Personally, I’ve been wondering for quite some time now how disinformation strategies and dynamics in Africa are differing from what’s going on in Europe in that regard. Are there trends that are foreshadowing what we must expect during election period in 2024 and Germany’s own federal elections in 2025? And most importantly of course: are there any innovative ways of countering those?

We will (hopefully) have answers to these and other questions soon. You probably don’t want to miss out on what these are – and the easiest way to stay in touch is via our socials Mastodon, Instagram and LinkedIn! See you there!

And of course, as always: some good reads attached!

See you soon, Joachim

Impulse #2 about smaller platforms

In the second publication of our Impulse series, we looked at the potential of smaller platforms and what we can learn from this for the democratic design of platforms. The impulse paper “Potentials of smaller platforms: What can we learn from them?” was written by Cathleen Berger, Charlotte Freihse, Matthias C. Kettemann, Katharina Mosene and Vincent Hofmann and is available here:
Read impulse paper

Issue #1 of Upgrade Democracy News

Did you miss the first issue of our newsletter and want to read it again? You can find this, all future issues, and many more exciting posts in our blog on our website:
All articles

Recommended reads

Dr. Joachim Rother

Dr. Joachim Rother

Project Manager

Dr. Joachim Rother is Project Manager in the Upgrade Democracy Team at Bertelsmann Stiftung and responsible for the Reinhard Mohn Award 2024. Prior to this position, Joachim was in charge of the Israel portfolio of Bertelsmann Stiftung, where he focused on fostering the German-Israeli relationship on a cultural, economic and political level. Joachim studied History, English and Social Studies at the University of Bamberg and holds a PhD in Crusade Studies. Prior to his work at Bertelsmann Stiftung, he served as deputy director of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation (KAS) in Jerusalem, Israel. Joachim is alumnus of the KAS PhD scholarship program, The German Historical Institute (GHI) in Washington D.C. and of the Jerusalem Institute of the Goerres Gesellschaft. 

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