KNOTS! is a Network of Towns project started in February 2018 and three International Workshops have already been held in different European cities: Castiglione in Teverina (IT), Vila Nova de Cerveira (PT) and Ivančna Gorica (SI). The common theme of all these meetings has been the education for the correct use of the media and the contrast to fake news, while at the same time spreading the knowledge of the functioning and institutions of the European Union to citizens, encouraging the understanding of the European Policy-making process and EU policies in key areas such as social, education, migration and the economy.
The Fourth Workshop, was held from June 27th to July 1st, in Herrera del Duque in Spain, had as its general theme the debunking of propaganda and fake news. The activities organized aim to provide participants, and European citizens in general, media literacy tools and making them aware of the importance of correct use and a careful understanding of information, especially regarding those disseminated online. The action of KNOTS! follows the recommendations of the European Council for actions aimed at countering the spread of fake news both within the Union and from outside and to favor the resilience of European communities to the difficulties created by disinformation.
The Leading Municipality of Répáshuta, the Municipalities of Bukkszentkereszt (Hungary), Castiglione in Teverina (Italy), Vila Nova de Cerveira (Portugal), Ivančna Gorica (Slovenia), Siret (Romania), Wieliszew (Poland), Amt Trittau (Germany), Deryneia (Cyprus), Herceg Novi (Montenegro), Mellieha (Malta) and the civil society organizations Balkanu Zieds (Latvia) and Development Center of Vojvodina (Serbia) attended the meeting, for a total of 13 European countries togheter with the hosting Municipality of Herrera del Duque (Spain).
Each delegation presented, during different occasions of discussion, opinions and recommendations collected from their local communities on topics relevant to Europe, as well as practical experiences of identifying and debunking fake news in their countries of origin, in order to favor the exchange of practices and techniques to combat disinformation. Alongside these moments of exchange and debate, practical activities of media literacy education have been planned with informal methods and oriented to the acquisition of skills.
There was also space for exchanging practices and make thematic visits to cooperatives and social associations and guided tours to get to know Herrera del Duque and the surrounding municipalities: tours to local cultural heritage sites, with the Castle of Herrera del Duque and the Sanctuary of Guadalupe, and the Reserve of the Biosphere of Siberia, recently recognized by UNESCO.
The meeting is also a further step in the collaboration established by the twinning agreement between the Municipality of Castiglione in Teverina (IT) and the Municipality of Herrera del Duque, which has created close relations of friendship and exchange between the two communities, both very active in the promotion of the interest of its citizens at European and international level and to promote civic engagement within the Union among their citizens.
The Mayor of Herrera del Duque, Saturnino Alcázar Vaquerizo stressed that it has been an honor for the Municipal Administration to host one of the KNOTS! Project meetings, adding: "It is essential that the citizens of Europe are encouraged to reflect on the threat created by the spread of false and propagandistic news to the correct development of European policies and on how it is important to be equipped to know how to recognize and block fake news. Herrera del Duque enthusiastically adheres to the project activities and, together with citizens and volunteers, intends to bring the full contribution to the fight against the disinformation advocated by the European Council" The Mayor then continued: "I am really pleased that this project is also a further strengthening of the relationship of friendship and brotherhood between our community and that of Castiglione in Teverina in Italy, which unites us with a common purpose and a desire for the development of full European citizenship ".
The Municipality of Répáshuta is assisted in the management and coordination of the KNOTS Project by the Italian ACe20 Agency of Orte.