Elections Expert – Germany

Position Title: Elections Expert – Germany (m/f/d)
Form of Employment: Home-based Consultant
Starting Date: March 2021
Duration: 10-15 working days (March to May 2021)
Location: Remote Deskwork

Background:

Electoral debates and campaigns are moving increasingly online, a trend accelerated by Covid-19 restrictions. As more citizens, political debates and democratic processes shift into the digital sphere, we require a better understanding of the new challenges and opportunities this poses to democracy and elections, particularly in light of various current disinformation and interference threats. This is especially true for Germany’s 2021 federal elections, which will be the country’s most digital yet, bringing increased attention to the online debate.

In this context, with anticipated support from several donors and in collaboration with various stakeholders, DRI plans a range of work to support the integrity of the coming elections and informed voter choice.

As the first part of these efforts, DRI will assess the vulnerability of Germany’s 2021 federal elections to online disinformation threats and initiate a multi-stakeholder collaboration for action. Among other, this will include two roundtable discussions with key electoral actors, based on DRI’s holistic assessment framework, and will be followed up with a final assessment report. These events will bring together expert civil society organizations, researchers, tech company representatives, and relevant state agencies.

Role and Objective:

To support this work, DRI now seeks the services of an expert consultant with an in-depth understanding of the German political context and online disinformation debate. Working closely with DRI’s Digital Democracy team, the consultant will support in the preparation of two expert roundtables, and based on this, lead the drafting of a final report.

Tasks:

The consultant will perform the following detailed tasks:

  • Provide expert feedback and actively contribute to initial reports, as well as feedback on the workshop designs and format.
  • Active participation and support at two (online) expert roundtables on German online electoral risks with expert civil society organizations, researchers, tech company representatives, relevant state agencies such as media authorities.
  • Provide input into a summary of the workshop findings.
  • Drafting of the final report, based on workshop findings and expert knowledge of Germany’s political landscape.
  • Coordinate with DRI’s Digital Democracy team and partners throughout the process.
  • Deliver input and feedback in a timely manner.

Qualifications:

Required:

  • Master’s degree in political science, international relations, journalism or related field.
  • An in-depth (5+ years’ professional work experience) understanding of the German political system, environment and institutions, as well as the cultural landscape
  • An understanding of tech policy, and/or awareness of the influence of social media on elections and political perceptions with regards to disinformation, hate speech, online political finance and other phenomena
  • Previous experience in the field of elections, political analysis, democracy, social media research or election monitoring
  • Superb writing and research skills
  • Full professional fluency in German and English is required

Preferred:

  • An understanding of the EU social media regulatory debate
  • Experience working on tech policy would be considered an asset, particularly experience working on topics related to social media research, open-source intelligence (OSINT) and disinformation
  • Understanding of methodologies of social media monitoring/listening and data analysis knowledge will be considered an asset
  • Prior experience of working with or consulting for NGOs

 

How to Apply:
If you are interested in this position, please send your application to [email protected]. Include your CV, cover letter, and a sample of relevant prior work, preferably in German language (e.g. on disinformation, or the political landscape in Germany). Please include “Elections Expert – Germany” in the subject line and refer to the source where you have found this opportunity. This position is subject to funding.

Closing date for applications: 25th March 2021. The position may be filled before the deadline has been reached, so early applications are strongly encouraged.

DRI is committed to diversity and does not discriminate in employment based upon gender (including pregnancy), race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, age, ability, socio-economic status, or any other status protected by the laws in the locations where we operate.

 

Social Media Visual Forensics Expert

Position Title: Social Media Visual Forensics Expert (m/f/d)
Form of Employment: Home-based Consultant
Starting Date: March 2021
Duration: 6-10 working days (mid-March through April 2021)
Location: Remote Deskwork

Background

For the past four years, Democracy Reporting International (DRI) has been producing real time evidence and studies on how social media platforms and digital communication are impacting public discourse, and with it, political and voting behavior around elections.

Through this work, DRI has identified that non-text media, particularly generated by AI, is a growing disinformation threat. Video manipulation tools are increasingly cheaper and easier to access, and video-based platforms like TikTok, YouTube and Instagram are on the rise.

Civil society and electoral stakeholders must be better prepared to analyze manipulated non-text media content to meet the emerging threat. Unlike image and video, text media is easier to monitor at scale as it requires reading without consideration for visual details. Observers already capable of monitoring text-based disinformation require a special set of skills to tackle image and video-based threats.

With this in mind, DRI plans to develop a guide for electoral social media monitoring organisations, for developing the understanding of manipulated media as a disinformation threat. The guide will inform a workshop module that DRI plans to develop on the topic, for direct capacity development with relevant social media monitoring organisations. The guide and workshop will include best practices, tools, and resources for working with image/video media.

Objective and Role

The project therefore requires the services of a consultant to help DRI’s Digital Democracy team structure a guide and workshop module.

Tasks:

The consultant will work directly with the DRI HQ Digital Democracy team. The consultant will perform the following tasks:

  • Drawing on your OSINT knowledge, conduct desk research on current uses, actors and techniques of manipulated media and threats, as well as tools and best practices on detecting these from industry, academia, civil society and other relevant groups, including electoral stakeholders. This may include interviews or surveys.
  • Based on research and discussions with the Digital Democracy team, design and draft a guide for social media monitors (particularly for CSOs working in election monitoring) with resources and best practices on incorporating images and video into social media monitoring.
  • Provide recommendations for developing a workshop module, based on the final guide and DRI’s existing training toolkit.
  • Attend calls and video meetings as required and maintain effective communication with the DRI Digital Democracy team.
  • Provide deliverables/outputs according to an agreed upon timeline.

 

Deliverables/Outputs:

  1. Research summary
  2. Final guide
  3. Recommendations for drafting a corresponding workshop module
  4. Final feedback on guide and workshop module

Qualifications:

  • A degree in political science, communication and media, international relations, journalism or related field.
  • Experience working on tech policy or video and imagery tools is required, particularly experience working on open-source intelligence (OSINT), topics related to social media research, and disinformation.
  • Experience working on election observation or monitoring would be considered an asset.
  • Demonstrated strong writing and research skills.
  • Fluency in English is required, additional languages will be considered an asset. German is not required.

How to Apply:
If you are interested in this position, please send your application (cover letter and CV) to [email protected]. Please include “Social Media Visual Forensics Expert in the subject line and refer to the source where you have found this opportunity. This position is subject to funding. Applying for this position by post mail is possible, please find our address details below.

Closing date for applications: 14th March 2021. The position may be filled before the deadline has been reached, so early applications are encouraged.

DRI is committed to diversity and does not discriminate in employment based upon gender (including pregnancy), race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, age, ability, socio-economic status, or any other status protected by the laws in the locations where we operate.

Legal Expert – Home based consultancy

Position Title: Legal Expert (m/f/d) 

Form of Employment: Home-based Consultant  

Starting Date: October 2020 

Duration: 15 days 

Location: Remote Deskwork 

 

Background

Policy makers at the national and at the EU level have begun adopting legislation or are in the process of proposing regulation to contain online disinformation, hate speech and other illegal content. Approaches have differed across EU member states. Through the proposed Digital Services Act and the European Democracy Action Plan, the EU is trying to contribute to a response to these challenges across the single market.

Against this background, DRI’s project is focused on online platform regulation in the EU and its member states. Through a series of events and reports we have been coordinating and collaborating with civil society organizations specialized in online disinformation, political advertising, illegal content and platform transparency to gather policy recommendations and provide evidence for the EU’s consultative processes.

We now plan to produce a comparative study of the various disinformation regulatory approaches in the EU, both at the national and EU level. This report aims to discuss potential areas where the EU and member states could regulate or create areas for coordination.

Objective

We are looking for a home-based consultant to conduct desk research, compile EU and national laws and regulation to contain or curb disinformation into a database, and analyze this to contribute to a final report. The assignment will start in October 2020, subject to funding.

Timeframe

15 work-days from October to November 2020

Your Tasks

The consultant will work directly with DRI HQ Social Media and Democracy team under the supervision of the Programme Officer. The consultant will perform the following tasks:

  • Desk research: scope, identify and research case studies and examples of online disinformation, “fake news”, hate speech and illegal content regulation, laws and measures at the national and EU level
  • Based on this, compile, compare and analyze EU and national approaches to regulation on these topics
  • Support in the drafting and providing feedback on the final analytical report, with the aim of outlining potential areas of regulation or coordination for EU and member states on this topic
  • Provide feedback to DRI’s Social Media and Democracy team throughout the research process
  • Deliver the report and required feedback according to the agreed timeline
  • Attend calls and video meetings as required and maintain effective communication with the DRI Social Media and Democracy team

Location:

Home-based Consultant   

Deliverables:

  • Develop a research design and scope of case studies in the EU and member states, of online disinformation (including “fake news”, hate speech and illegal content regulation, laws and measures)
  • Conduct a literature review of existing regulatory measures and approaches in the EU and member states
  • With support of the team, design and then finalise a database on EU and member state of online disinformation (including “fake news”, hate speech and illegal content regulation, laws and measures), for cross-cutting analysis of regulation and approaches
  • Support in drafting the final analytical report
  • Provide final feedback on report

Your skills and experience:

  • Master’s degree in law, political science, international relations, journalism or related field.
  • Experience in EU regulation and decision-making, and comparative/cross-country legal analysis
  • Experience working on tech policy would be considered an asset, particularly experience working on topics related to social media research and disinformation.
  • Demonstrated strong writing and research skills.
  • Fluency in English is required, additional languages will be considered an asset. German is not required.

How to Apply:

DRI values diversity and is an equal opportunity employer. Women are encouraged to apply.

The deadline for applications is 5 October 2020.

Candidates should submit a CV and cover letter to [email protected] with ‘Legal Expert’ in the subject line.

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.  

Data processing of personal data in third countries will not take place. We process your data in accordance with the provisions of § 26 German Federal Data Protection Act. More information about processing your personal data: privacy policy .