4. Supporting the target audiences of disinformation campaigns

Summary of the presentations and discussions on "Supporting the target audiences of disinformation campaigns" from the June 2021 GFMD IMPACT donor-practitioner-academic meeting on disinformation.


"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)

Media and Information Literacy

Dennis Reineck, when presenting DW Akademie’s (Oct 2020) Index of Media and Information Literacy in six African countries noted that their “strongest recommendation is to focus on critical attitudes and critical reflection particularly political disinformation and also look at the motivation and agenda behind this information”.

The research also recommends having MIL on the curriculum and running dedicated youth campaigns.

Fact-checking and media literacy

Oftentimes the persons who you're going to reach with your fact-checking efforts are going to be people who are interested in the facts anyway, and who are pretty well informed and who will go to the trouble of if they've heard about a news item to check whether it's true or not. I think that [seeing misinformed as a target audience is] a very interesting, exciting thing that we're going to explore. (MediaDev practitioner)

Challenge: The issue of reaching target audiences using local dialects/languages and platforms were also discussed, with many concerned that fact-checking and media literacy campaigns were not reaching the most vulnerable audiences.

Many participants emphasised the need for fact-checking services to use a media literacy approach to target the most vulnerable and polarised communities on a micro-scale using trusted local leaders.

This was reinforced by the case study from BBC Media Action which found that discussions between audiences and experts were seen as significant in countering disinformation.

Dennis Reineck talks about DW Akademie’s (Oct 2020) Index of Media and Information Literacy in six African countries. For background on the methodology, approach and guiding principles see:

This research by Media Matters for Democracy - Pakistan -- "Disorder in the newsroom - The media’s perceptions and response to the infodemic" -- includes a survey of 546 journalists along with in-depth interviews of 10 senior reporters and editors in national and international newsrooms based in Pakistan.


The following responses were not discussed at length during the meeting but will be addressed in future GFMD IMPACT meetings.

Ethical and normative responses

Carried out on international, regional and local levels involving public condemnation of acts of disinformation or recommendations and resolutions aimed at thwarting these acts and sensitising the public to the issues. Impacting production and distribution mechanisms. (Source: Bontcheva)

Empowerment and credibility labelling responses

Efforts around building content verification tools and web content indicators for a range of locations in the production and distribution chain, in order to empower citizens and journalists to not fall prey to online disinformation. (Source: Bontcheva)

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