The governance of the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) is entrusted to an Executive and an Advisory Board. The work of both bodies is supported and coordinated by a Secretary-General.
The Executive Board will ensure the implementation of the various tasks of EDMO and is composed by representatives of the different partner institutions. (iii) The Advisory Board provides guidance on strategy and monitors the Executive Board compliance with the project guidelines and principles.
The Secretary General of the Governance Body will support the activities of both boards and will ensure communication between the two. The Secretary General has no voting right.
A conflict of interest generally refers to a situation where the impartiality and objectivity of a decision, opinion or recommendation of the Board Member is or might be perceived as being compromised by a personal interest held or entrusted to a given individual. Relevant personal interest may be of financial or non-financial nature and it may concern a personal or family relationship or professional affiliations (including additional employment or "outside" appointments or former employments or appointments) and other relevant outside activities.
Complaints about EDMO activities and staff can be raised to the Advisory Board. A procedure to guarantee the anonymity of any complaints will be set up.
Disinformation, as referred to by EDMO, includes all forms of false, inaccurate, or misleading information designed, presented and promoted to intentionally cause public harm or for profit
The goals of EDMO are listed in Annex 1.
1. Remit of the Executive Board
The Executive Board (hereinafter referred to as EB) of EDMO ensures the effective and impartial implementation of the tasks EDMO is in charge of.
In particular, the EB:
Decides on the overall operational aspects related to the implementation of the activities of EDMO
Supervises the implementation of the activities of EDMO
Proposes to the Advisory Board the strategy to be followed by EDMO and reports on its implementation
Designs and implements, taking into account the recommendations of the Advisory Board, the terms of service of the platform, including:
rules and procedures for granting access to the platform based on adequate professional and ethical standards to ensure public confidence in the work of the platform while facilitating and strengthening initiatives aimed at assessing the truth value of information disseminated in the public domain and the creation of a broad multidisciplinary research community tackling disinformation in Europe
rules and procedures to be put in place for the provision/sale of services to external entities including media outlets, platforms, advertisers, and public authorities without compromising the independence of the platform
Negotiates, in articulation with the European Commission, access to online platforms relevant data
Defines rules and procedures to ensure that access to public and non-public data of online platforms will be organized in such a way as to guarantee respect of national and European laws for privacy and data protection. The EB will regularly assess these rules and revise them in case this is needed
Designs, in accordance with data providers, a process to define, based on identified research needs, relevant datasets that data providers should make available to the research community. In this regard, it will issue calls for proposals and provide data access to project proposals selected on the basis of scientific and social merit
Engages with i.a. EU public authorities to identify which relevant input EDMO can provide to support relevant policy activities
2. Principles and Values of the Executive Board
The governance of the EB will reflect internationally recognized standards of good governance and will be based on the principles of independence, openness, participation, accountability, effectiveness and coherence
In implementation of the principle of independence, each member is expected, upon appointment, and then once yearly at the Secretary general's request, to disclose substantial interests he / she has in sector / sub-sectors of the information ecosystem, plus a statement that this does not at this stage jeopardize his / her independence, except any listed topics that would be off limits. Failure to provide such a statement, after one warning, may lead to a request to resign.
3. Structure of the Executive Board
The EB shall consist of 6 members
The size of the EB may, upon consultation with the Advisory Board, be changed by a majority vote of the current EB and after consultation with the project partners
The initial composition of the Board is defined by common agreement among the project partners with the Chair of the EB being appointed on the basis of a proposal of the project leading institution
A majority of the EB members have to be affiliated with the partner institutions and there should always be at least one member from each partner institution
The initial mandate of the EB members runs for the full initial length of the EDMO project funding. After that, they will be appointed for mandates of three years
Where an EB member leaves for any reason, the remaining EB members shall appoint by consensus, and after consultation with the Advisory Board, a replacement
4. Decision-making process of the Executive Board
Ordinary decisions of the EB shall be taken, whenever possible, by consensus. If no consensus is reached the Chair can decide that the decision can be taken on the basis of a simple majority
Where a vote is tied, the Chair of the EB shall have a casting vote
Votes will be recorded in the EB minutes
5. Financial Transparency
All expenses incurred by the EB will be made transparent in the program accounts.
6. Meetings of the Executive Board
The EB will meet at least at least six times a year by conference/video call of which three times per year in person (remote attendance is allowed at each EB member discretion)
EB meetings will be combined with the Advisory Board meeting once per year. The Joint meeting with the Advisory Board will be preceded by an Executive Board meeting to prepare the Joint meeting
The EB may schedule meetings outside of its normal scheduled meetings for urgent decisions
Special meetings of the EB will be called by the Chair and take place at dates and times agreed by all EB members or with a minimum notice of 3 working days where agreement cannot be reached
Team members, subcontractors and representatives of the Advisory Board may be invited to join EB meetings, based on decisions by the Executive Board
The agenda for the meetings will be proposed to the Chair by the secretary General following, when appropriate, a consultation with the EB members
The Chair of the EB, in agreement with the Secretary General, will set written communication channels as well as conference calls on urgent matters
Any member of the EB will immediately disclose to the other members of the EB any conflict of interest with any agenda point
7. Reporting of the Executive Board
Minutes will be drafted following each meeting of the EB
The EB will also approve the final draft of any report produced by EDMO (e.g. the technical reports and the interim progress reports) taking into account, whenever relevant, the recommendations of the Advisory Board
8. Remit of the Advisory Board
The Advisory Board (hereinafter referred to AB) provides guidance on strategy and monitors the Executive Board compliance with the project guidelines and principles.
In particular, the AB:
Advises on strategic decisions within the EDMO remit upon request of the EB or on its own initiative
Provides support to the EB upon its request
Scrutinizes the work of the EB
Selects, on a rotating basis, three of its Members to sit in the ad-hoc committee that evaluates and selects the research proposals that can get access to online platforms’ data, as well as well as any other upcoming selection and assessment activities
9. Principles and Values of the Advisory Board
The governance of the AB will reflect internationally recognized standards of good governance and will be based on the principles of independence, openness, participation, accountability, effectiveness and coherence
In implementation of the principle of independence, each member is expected, upon appointment, and then once yearly at the Secretary general's request, to disclose any interests he / she has in sector / sub-sectors ofr the information ecosystem, plus a statement that this does not at this stage jeopardize his / her independence, except any listed topics that would be off limits. Failure to provide such a statement, after one warning, may lead to a request to resign.
10. Structure of the Advisory Board
The Advisory Board is composed of stakeholders who can come from academia, media, fact-checking, advertisement, policy and advocacy organisations. Public authorities cannot be part of the Advisory Board
The AB is composed of a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 24 members with voting right
A representative from the European Commission participates in the meetings of the AB as observer and without voting right
The initial mandate of the AB members runs for the full initial length of the EDMO project funding. After that, they can be appointed for mandates of two years
Where an AB member leaves for any reason, the remaining AB members shall appoint by qualified majority, a replacement
When in the AB, members do not represent the interest of their institution, but pursue the goals of EDMO and public interest
11. Decision-making process of the Advisory Board
Ordinary decisions of the AB shall be taken by the simple majority of the members present
Where a vote is tied, the Chair of the AB shall have a casting vote
Votes will be recorded in the AB minutes
12. Financial Transparency
All expenses incurred by the AB will be made transparent in the program accounts.
13. Meetings of the Advisory Board
The AB will meet at least twice a year in person (remote attendance is allowed at each AB member discretion)
AB meetings will be combined with the Executive Board meeting once per year. The Joint meeting with the Executive Board will be preceded by an Advisory Board meeting to prepare the Joint meeting
The AB may upon the initiative of the Chair schedule meetings outside of its normal schedule for urgent decisions
Special meetings of the AB will be called by the Chair and take place at dates and times agreed by all AB members or with a minimum notice of 5 working days upon initiative of its Chair where agreement cannot be reached. When the interest of EDMO requires urgent decision-making, the notice period does not apply. Voting by written proxy is allowed
The agenda for the meetings will be set by the Chair upon advice of the Secretary-General. AB members can suggest agenda items with a minimum notice of 5 working days
As topics are tabled on the agenda, members of the AB will disclose which ones they may have a potential conflict of interest with, or they may be directly lobbied about by a major party at stake. In these cases, the member, or where in doubt the Secretary General or the Chair, should choose for the member to abstain from the discussion and vote on that particular item
14. Reporting of the Advisory Board
Minutes will be drafted following each meeting of the AB.
Goals of EDMO
The European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) will contribute to a deeper understanding of disinformation relevant actors, vectors, tools, methods, dissemination dynamics, prioritised targets and impact on society.
EDMO aims at:
Setting-up a secure online platform supporting the academic analysis of disinformation campaigns and providing public information to raise awareness about disinformation
Creating a governance body which ensures public trust regarding the work of the platform and establishing a framework to provide secure access to data of online platforms for research purposes
Supporting and facilitating the coordination of independent fact-checking activities in Europe, including the mapping of fact-checking activities in Europe and the creation of searchable directories aggregating fact-checks and media literacy material from external repositories
Supporting and facilitating the coordination of academic research activities on disinformation in Europe and creating a repository with relevant peer-reviewed scientific literature
Providing support to public authorities in the monitoring of the policies put in place by online platforms to limit the spread and the impact of disinformation