Disinformation - Media support (June '21)

Report of the GFMD IMPACT donor-practitioner-academic learning and information sharing meeting on 17 June 2021.

Journalism support and media development in the context of mis/disinformation

On 17th June 2021 GFMD's International Media Policy and Advisory Centre hosted a meeting of 54 media development donors, practitioners and academics to discuss effective responses to disinformation.

Disinformation was chosen after it was selected as a priority in a survey of those engaged with GFMD IMPACT's activities, as well as in previous consultations with media development actors.

The meeting was co-convened by

The full agenda for the meeting is available here:

Meeting agenda


The meeting report summarises the presentations and discussions that took place in the breakout groups and main session.

Main takeaways

Ideas put forward on how to make media development responses more effective included:

Language barriers and sustainability were identified as challenges for fact-checking programmes.

Fact-checking services adopting critical media literacy approaches was among many suggestions on how to more effectively engage vulnerable/polarised communities.

Research and researchers on disinformation need to be broader and more diverse.

Creative solutions were proposed for improving data & information sharing.

More research is needed on "production" disinformation.

Support to journalism must address:

A working paper on measuring and evaluating disinformation programmes identified five key challenges for evaluators and argues for building a community of practice around countering disinformation; carrying out a comparative, impact study; creating a diagnostic tool for program design.


Due to the cross-cutting nature of the discussions, the report presents that findings and insights from the meeting using the typology of responses to disinformation identified in Balancing Act: Countering Digital Disinformation While Respecting Freedom of Expression - Bontcheva & Posetti (2020) as a guide.

One of the report's authors - Kalina Bontcheva - prepared a presentation for the meeting about the typology of responses to disinformation.

The full presentation can be downloaded from the link below:

This presentation has also been used to summarise and define responses throughout the meeting report. See text labelled (Source: Bontcheva).

Click on the links below to navigate the sections you are interested in reading:

Quotes, insights and suggestions on how to improve the overall effectiveness of the media development responses to disinformation.

Introduction (efficacy of MediaDev responses)

1. Identification responses

2. Responses aimed at producers and distributors

3. Impacting production and distribution mechanisms

Curatorial responses; technical/algorithmic responses; and demonetisation responses will be discussed at future GFMD IMPACT meetings.

4. Supporting the target audiences of disinformation campaigns

This section focuses on educational responses"aimed at improving citizens' media literacy and promoting critical thinking and verification in the context of online information consumption, as well as journalist training and tools aimed at helping journalists with fact-checking, verification, and debunking." (Source: Bontcheva)

The final section of the meeting report covers discussion and insights emanating the presentation of a draft working paper on the challenges of evaluating countering disinformation programs produced for the meeting by Susan Abbott and Katerina Tsetsura:

5. Evaluating counter-disinformation programmes

6. Research on disinformation

A literature review of resources related to how media development and wider policy initiatives can address disinformation is available here.

Literature review


MediaDev practitioners

Donors & funders

Academics & researchers

Media regulators









"Global North"

"Global South"



* not including members of the GFMD secretariat

If you are interested in reading feedback those who attended the meeting see:


Find what you are looking for by using:

The left-hand side navigation options to choose between the report's sections.

The right-hand side "CONTENTS" navigation to find subsections on each page.

The search functionality at the top of each page.

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