The BEMA foundation believes in the power of societal debate. The initial step in improving the debate is to improve information quality.
After the foundation of BEMA in 2010, an attempt was made to diagnose the status quo of the public debate. Therefore an expert meeting was organised under the supervision of Alexander Rinnooy Kan. In preparation for the meeting, Paul Scheffer wrote an essay for the foundation titled ‘Bronnen van onbehagen’ (‘Sources of discomfort’). The conclusions of the meeting have been summarised in a thematic report, including recommendations.
The European Press Prize (EPP) is one of the first projects (co-)initiated by the foundation. After its first steps, the project has been established by its founding partners, including Stichting Democratie en Media (SDM), Vereniging Veronica and the Guardian Foundation. The first EPP was awarded in 2013 in De Balie, after that it was in London, Copenhagen, Prague and Amsterdam once again. See http://www.europeanpressprize.com for further information.
Since 2017, the foundation participates in an anti-fake-news initiative with the working title ‘Make Media Great Again’. With support from the SIDN fonds, a prototype is in active development using blockchain technology. Because of the use of blockchain, it can show exactly what the history is of a particular news source and hence help to combat fake news and improve information quality. See also: http://www.sidnfonds.nl/projecten/make-media-great-again