Comment on page
1. Identification responses
Summary of the presentations and discussions on "identification responses" to disinformation from the June 2021 GFMD IMPACT donor-practitioner-academic meeting on disinformation.
Monitoring and fact-checking responses tend to be carried out by news organisations, internet communications companies, academia, civil society organisations, and independent fact-checking organisations, as well as (where these exist) partnerships between several such organisations. (Source: Bontcheva)
Challenge: Fact-checkers bemoaned that fact-checking verification tools are often only available in English or French and not in Arabic and other languages.
Solution: Can donors support the translation of tools?
Challenge: Media development practitioners and academics noted that too often fact-checking projects last only as long as the short-term grants that initiate them.
Some fact-checking groups are adapting by becoming affiliated with institutions such as universities.
Donors were urged to consider sustainability when initiating and designing projects and grants.
- 1.Having a strong local partner organisation with a deep understanding of the media landscape and a good network with the actors in the industry.
- 2.A systemic approach that considers building and supporting structures in media organisations, especially when you're thinking about sustainability.
- 3.Secure the buy-in from media houses by offering support that takes into account the interests of the media organisations. “For example, in our case, we offered media viability consultancies as an additional activity alongside the fact-checking project”.
The need to offer fact-checkers legal digital physical and psychological support was emphasised in Saja Mortada ’s presentation of the highlights from ARIJ’s (Dec. 2020) policy paper, “Combating Disinformation in the Arab World - The COVID-19 pandemic”.
The policy paper and participants in the meeting encourage donors to support collaboration and networks of fact-checkers to enhance skills and learn from those who operate in similar and relatable contexts in terms of press freedom and access to data, as well as media markets, audience preferences and behaviour.
There's quite a lot of concern about the evidence that fact-checking approaches work [...] There are a lot of emotional, psychological factors that play behind that. We are starting to move a bit beyond fact-checking as our default response and more towards thinking about how you frame [the way you provide] information and [approach] media literacy. (MediaDev practitioner)
What did they say? Participants encouraged more critical thinking about the information collected about disinformation responses through social listening and data monitoring and to create comprehensive approaches to sharing and using that information.
Why? Content-based efforts to counter disinformation and attempts at gap-filling for media support are important, but this does not necessarily help with countering issues such as state-sponsored disinformation campaigns or the use of troll farms.
What should be done differently? Packages of programmatic responses need to be developed in a way that dovetails with bigger objectives - understand how groups of activities can contribute to broader outcomes outlined in macro-level theories of change.
Go beyond message/content veracity, to analyse disinformation campaigns: originating actors, degree of spread, and affected communities; aim to help governments, news organisations, fact-checkers, and other organisations in deciding when, where, and how to deploy effective countermeasures. (Source: Bontcheva)