Media Literacy - For a confident handling of information in an increasingly complex media world
Project team: Stefan Auer, Cordula Simon
"Fake News" and Radicalization
Buzzwords like fake news, mis- or disinformation, post-truth, filter bubbles, echo chambers or mendacious press and framing have found their way into common usage. Despite this awareness, real and fake information are often difficult to distinguish. For this, we want to provide students with a toolkit for what research calls medial literacy – the ability to perceive media and information critically. Since radical groups in particular like to take advantage of the opportunity to spread news with questionable content, it is now more important than ever to provide young people with knowledge that can be used to effectively counteract any radicalization and polarization, and thus arm them on their way to becoming democratically educated and media literate citizens.
After a brief introduction to the topic and illustrative material to tie in with the applicable curriculum in history or civic education, the workshop will move on to practical application as quickly as possible: Many exercises, especially for research, will only be possible to implement using a smartphone: How can you tell if an article is fake news? What about allegedly genuine photos, fake social media accounts, manipulated tweets and much more?
All exercises and examples will be constantly adapted and updated to ensure relevance to the present. All three parts are united by the basic idea of promoting the most unbiased, critical thinking and practically applicable media competence possible in the participants.
Mag. Stefan Auer and Mag. Cordula Simon BA from the Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies (ACIPSS - www.acipss.org) will supervise the project. The workshops will be subject to a subsequent evaluation with the involvement of the class and the teaching staff in order to ensure a high level of quality assurance. A comprehensive project report will be produced once a year.
Seeking Influence and Power: Exploiting systemic vulnerabilities along the Danube and across the Balkans
The Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda & Security Studies and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (Berlin) are conducting a research project on foreign actors seeking influence and power in Central- and Southeastern Europe, i.e. Austria, Hungary, and the Western Balkans. As a result of increasing strategic competition between states and the corresponding geopolitical power projection across the region, dynamics have emerged that have decisive impact on regional actors and stakeholders. Together with the recent European crises, these emerging and growing fault lines must be explored and analyzed. To this end, international experts will address systemic and national vulnerabilities, discuss how these are exploited by regional and global actors, and identify the associated risks and threats this poses to the states and people of the region, Europe, and beyond.
The results of this fruitful collaboration will be published in the forthcoming Journal for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies. The contributions will deal with regional vulnerabilities for subversion and power projection, hybrid threats, and the influence of global developments on the region. Leading scholars will tackle the consequences of actors exploiting instability and social tensions, caused by war traumas, border changes, the stagnating EU integration, migration, and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over the course of 2021, ACIPSS and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung are organizing public events in Berlin and Graz. By placing this important region of Europe back into the spotlight, the project seeks to provide a better understanding of current trends as well as forward-looking perspectives on future developments for both policymakers and the general public.
Austrian exiles in World War II military intelligence of the US Army. A collective wartime biography of the „Ritchie Boys“
The Future Funds of the Republic of Austria, Project No. P14-1658; Jubilee Funds of the Austrian National Bank, Project No. 16356
Siegfried Beer (project leader), Robert Lackner, Florian Traussnig
During the Second World War, hundreds of Austrian exiles and refugees served in various military intelligence organizations of the US Army. When US soldiers with crucial skills such as native knowledge of German and detailed local familiarity (geographic, topographic, economic, and strategic) were located, they most often found themselves transferred to the Military Intelligence Training Center in Camp Ritchie, Maryland as well as Camp Sharpe, Pennsylvania. There they were instructed in how to operate as interrogators of prisoners of war and propaganda specialists. Upon graduation, they would primarily see service on the Western Front in Europe, providing as intelligence experts and resistance supervisors an important contribution to the defeat of the Nazi regime.
The purpose of this project is to collect and analyze selected biographies of these exiled Austrians. For the first time it will be determined how many of these Austrian “Ritchie Boys” were trained by the US Army, where they saw action in the war and how they can be typologically, politically and socially assessed.
493 Austrians received an intelligence or propaganda training at the MITC. Their names including further biographical data are available in an online database.
Press Release (June 2018)
JIPSS article on the goals, protagonists and first highlights of the project (2015)