DW Akademie supports the fight against disinformation in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador, and focuses on education, knowledge exchange and new approaches to journalism.
Mexico and its southern neighbors are marked by widespread violence that often affects innocent bystanders. It is also targeted at critical journalists to silence them. In recent years, freedom of expression has also come under pressure from interest groups spreading rumors and misinformation on social networks, and often with the aim to divide society and limit freedom of expression.
Disadvantaged population groups, including young people, women and indigenous communities, are particularly affected by mis- and disinformation, often lacking the skills to deal with the media. This is especially true in rural areas and in difficult urban neighborhoods where educational opportunities are limited but where people also have increasing access to the Internet.
DW Akademie is active in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador with partners working in the areas of journalism, education, and research, and who are committed to combating disinformation. Their goal is to develop new solutions, make proven methods and models available to as many as possible, and for citizens to actively participate in a democratic dialogue – both on and offline.
Reliable journalism is the focus of Periodistas de a Pie, a Mexican partner, and their network of local digital media outlets throughout the country. They develop editorial guidelines to fight disinformation, test new media formats to strengthen the dialogue with audiences and promote Media and Information Literacy (MIL) skills.
In cooperation with the Asociación de Servicios Educativos y Culturales (ASEC), MIL is for the first time being integrated into the curriculum and is reaching more than 12,000 young Guatemalans otherwise excluded from the country’s traditional education system. Meanwhile, the partner organization COMUNICARES is developing playful learning approaches that are being tested by Guatemala’s Ministry of Education. They are aimed at indigenous Mayan communities, taking into account their cultural environment and limited access to the Internet.
In El Salvador, the knowledge and innovation hub at the partner universities Escuela de Comunicación Mónica Herrera (ECMH) and Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (UCA) is generating new insights into disinformation. Using research and participatory formats, they analyze the mechanisms behind disinformation and its impact. They also promote dialogue in the region and formulate practical recommendations.
Local partner organizations also include the RedAMI México network that was established by DW Akademie and UNESCO. It comprises eight institutions from various sectors, aiming to strengthen MIL in Mexico.
DW Akademie has been active in Mexico since 2020 and in March 2023 opened an office in Mexico City. Through regional projects it is also linked to neighboring Guatemala and El Salvador, and was the first international organization to systematically promote MIL in Central America.
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Program Director Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador: Julia Manske
Local Partners: Mexico: Periodistas de a Pie and RedAMI México; Guatemala: Asociación de Servicios Educativos y Culturales (ASEC) and COMUNICARES; El Salvador: Escuela de Comunicación Mónica Herrera (ECMH) and Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (UCA)
Focus: Media and Information Literacy, professionalism, civic participation, media viability, research, strategies against disinformation