Resistance Against Disinformation for the Democratic Rights – Autonómia

Resistance Against Disinformation for the Democratic Rights


The project aims to map the creation and spread of disinformation, fake news and manipulative political messages in segregated Roma communities in four EU countries to strengthen resistance to disinformation and political manipulation of Roma communities.
It also aims to carry out empowerment activities and to provide recommendations for professionals and activists on effective communication to enable members of these communities to reflect on the information they consume and to develop critical attitudes towards political messages.
The key objective is to increase the active participation of Roma citizens in democratic decision-making, to exercise their right to vote and to use their voice in democratic debates.
The majority (non-Roma) society is an indirect target group of the project.
In the communication part of the project, we will expose the manipulative actions and show how this discourages misinformed people from exercising their right to vote and other democratic rights.
The project is based on the participatory action research method. Local communities (three to three municipalities in Spain, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Hungary) plan and implement local actions to become active shapers of the communication that affects them.
Women in Roma communities are the main target group, as the exercise of their democratic rights is even more vulnerable to manipulation.

The project will use the national and international contacts of partner organisations. The results and recommendations will also be presented and used in the European Roma Grassroots Organisations network, which brings together around 30 Roma and pro-Roma organisations.
The project will be implemented by a consortium of highly experienced Roma and pro-Roma organisations in cooperation with civil society and academia.

The project is funded by the European Union’s Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) programme.

First international meeting (WP1 D1.1)

Date(s): 24-26 January 2023, Budapest, European Youth Centre

Number of participants: 29

Number of countries: 4

The NGOs Autonomia, Amalipe (Bulgaria), Fagic (Spain) and ROMEA (Czech Republic) held the inaugural meeting of the RADIRIGHTS project in Budapest, at the European Youth Centre of the Council of Europe, from 24-26 January 2023. The project researches the impact of disinformation on local Roma communities in three countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Spain.

During the training, the participants analysed the disinformation phenomena in local Roma communities and their harmful effects. During the first day, thanks to professors from ELTE University, they were also introduced to the concepts of disinformation and fake news and their mechanisms.
On the second and third days, they were introduced to the participatory action research methodology, which is key to the project, and each group used it to plan local actions in 3 locations per country.
In addition to the training, a meeting of the national project team leaders was held to define the administrative tasks for implementation.
As a result of the event, the international team had a clear understanding of the project’s purpose and, not least, the efficiency of cooperation was increased thanks to the many common tasks.

The RADIRIGHTS project is funded by the European Commission’s Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme (CERV-2022-CITIZENS-CIV).


Participatory workshops with local community members – 1st round (WP2 D2.1)

Date(s): 01. March, 2023. – 30. April, 2023

Number of participants: 372

Number of countries: 4

After the training in Budapest, the partner organisations started fieldwork in three municipalities per country.

Local researchers and co-researchers were also given an online questionnaire to which they sought answers together with members of local groups. These data collections served both to assess the situation and to engage group members and local participants in a real discourse.

In most locations, sources and channels of information of interest to the local community were identified. In Bulgaria, the church plays a prominent role, in Spain social media platforms (Instagram, TikTok), in the Czech Republic personal contacts, while in Hungary the role of central government-led media is stronger than in other countries.
Although the first group meeting was not yet tasked with planning future local actions, several places have already set up their own FB group and one is considering publishing its own publication (fanzine).

The dynamics of the groups need to be increased in several places. Where the group is not functioning, the involvement of another group (e.g. a segregated school class) or even another municipality could be considered.

Czech Republic




Fake news and Disinformation in Roma Communities – research summary


Presentation and discussion of mapping of information habits of Roma communities with university students (WP3 – D3.1)

Date(s): 13 January, 26 April, 2024

Number of participants: 23

Number of countries: 1

In the second round of local meetings, all partner organisations collected disinformative content that affects the life of local Roma communities. An analysis of these was produced and presented in a university seminar (students of the Departments of Media and Communication and Social Work and Social Policy at ELTE).

The presentation of the collected disinformative content raised the importance of the concept and theory of “information poverty” as an interpretative framework. Since the RADIRIGHTS programme uses the participatory action research method, the seminar programme also included an introduction to this method and to the technique of community filming.

The analysis was translated into the languages of the partner countries and shared by all partners on their websites.

Based on the material, the Autonomia Foundation developed a teaching material, which was used as a basis for two workshops for Roma secondary school students in Miskolc.

The contact with the university students was maintained after the seminar. The Autonomia Foundation was invited to one of the new-generation Festivals, the Kolorado (4 July 2024; 28 participants), which is popular among young intellectuals in the country. Here, young people from Kakucs, ELTE students and festival-goers in four groups produced a “newscast” of real and fake news. After filming, they had to vote on whether the films made by the other groups were real or fake.

The session and the cooperation with the university as a whole was clearly a success. So much so, that the Autonomia Foundation and the Department of Media Communication would like to maintain the cooperation after the project, for which they plan to attract funding.


Participatory workshops with members of local communities – 2nd round (WP3 – D3.2)

Date(s): September, 2023 – April, 2024

Number of participants: 388

Number of countries: 4

In our RADIRIGHTS programme, we carried out local actions and projects in three locations, Kakucs, Bag and Gilvánfa, using the community action research method. We worked together with local people and ELTE media students.

They shot and edited films. These were not films and not for the general public. The aim of these films was for the participants to try out what it is like to be “on the other side of the camera”, i.e. to go from being passive receivers to active news makers.

These exercises were not rigorous and discouraging occasions. Part of the challenge was to invent fake news and try to make others believe it. Sometimes this worked, sometimes it didn’t.

The local actions, on the other hand, were very successful, because it is quite certain that the participants and their environment are now much more difficult to manipulate with fake news.


International Workshop: Processing the findings of field-work (WP4 D4.1)

Date(s): 30, May – 3, June 2024

Number of participants: 25

Number of countries: 4

In the framework of our RADIRIGHTS project, we met for the second time with our Spanish, Czech and Bulgarian partners, this time in Veliko Trnovo, Bulgaria. At the meeting we shared the methods and results of our work on disinformation. In particular, we talked about how we worked with adults and young people in Gilvánfa, Bag and Kakucs using the tool of community filmmaking. The participants in the project learned how to recognise fake news and manipulative information and how to defend themselves against it. In Hungary, there is a huge variety. You don’t have to search much in the media, there is plenty of content to illustrate this phenomenon.

Our Czech partners looked at Roma attitudes towards the European Parliament elections, the Spanish at discrimination against the Roma minority, mainly on economic grounds.

During the three-day workshop, participants from four countries found a common voice, even though many of them did not speak English. A real challenge for trainers, but considering that the topic was disinformation, it is not so unrealistic.