RTVE's 'War against Lies' uncovers the new ways of digital investigations

War against Lies / Radio y Televisión Española

RTVE's Lab and "En Portada" launched a transmedia project about new ways of digital investigations.

"Guerra a la Mentira" (War against Lies) is a new RTVE transmedia project that was launched at the end of January. It consists of the same-named interactive documentary and the on-air documentary "En Portada" (On the Front Page), which aired on January 30, 2017. The webdoc leads users through various conversational narrations that aim to demonstrate how open source verification can be used to find the truth about crimes around the world. At the end of each conversation, users are tasked to solve an interactive challenge themselves. The webdoc is available at the Lab RTVE website in both Spanish and English.

Users are presented with three exemplary cases based on latest events that made headlines - 'Who bombarded Imran's home?', 'Who knocked down the MH17?' and 'Who attacked the humanitarian convoy as Urm Al Kubra?'. The cases demonstrate how investigating free published content on the internet can lead to bringing criminals to justice. All cases start off with an introductory video to illustrate the initial position of the case. For each case, users are then able to scroll through a chat with open source verification experts. All of the conversations of the experience are a recreation of the actual work that has been done by Bellingcat, an investigative search network founded by the British network activist Eliot Higgins.

To advance the story, users can click on various conversation prompts that then, for example, provide access to more evidences or tips on investigating on the internet. The additional content appears in the right window of the chat interface - news videos, press conferences and releases, social media posts, results from Google Translate, videos of expert tips, and more.

At the end of each conversation, users have to solve an interactive task themselves. In the case of 'Who bombarded Imran's home?', for example, they are challenged to locate buildings by analyzing aerial footage. Once the task has been fulfilled, the case is summed up with a final conclusion on the verification process. The interactive experience also offers additional links and tutorials that invite users to dig deeper into detection and verification of open source content.

Lana Zöllner is a research analyst at VAST MEDIA, a media research and consulting company based in Berlin that provides international television industry leaders with qualitative competitive market analysis of digital entertainment and content marketing.

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