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Disinformation

Research and reports into the effectiveness of donor and foundation-supported media development and journalism support programmes that address disinformation & information disorder.
Please note that this resource page focuses on the effectiveness of donor and foundation-supported programmes to respond to disinformation.

Propublica

Google is funneling revenue to some of the web’s most prolific purveyors of false information in Europe, Latin America and Africa, a ProPublica investigation has found.
The company has publicly committed to fighting disinformation around the world, but a ProPublica analysis, the first ever conducted at this scale, documented how Google’s sprawling automated digital ad operation placed ads from major brands on global websites that spread false claims on such topics as vaccines, COVID-19, climate change and elections.

United Nations

Disinformation and freedom of opinion and expression.pdf
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A report by UN Special Rapporteur Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression:
Emphasizing the vital importance of the right to information as a “survival right” on which people’s lives, health and safety depend, the Special Rapporteur recommends that human rights standards be reinforced alongside international humanitarian law during armed conflicts. She urges States to reaffirm their commitment to upholding freedom of opinion and expression and ensuring that action to counter disinformation, propaganda and incitement is well grounded in human rights.
She recommends that social media companies align their policies and practices with human rights standards and apply them consistently across the world. She concludes by reiterating the need to build social resilience against disinformation and promote multi-stakeholder approaches that engage civil society as well as States, companies and international organizations.

IDRC. CRDI- AZAMAT ABABAKIROV, AHMED ASHOUR, RAMATHI BANDARANAYAKE, RUWANKA DE SILVA, DOMINIQUE DIOUF, HERMAN WASSERMAN

"This detailed study provides an overview of the entities that are active in the fight against information disorder in the MENA region, and the methods and responses they use. It also discusses and analyzes legal and human rights issues and the context of freedom of opinion and expression in which they operate."

United Nations - SDG16 Data Initiative

The full report is available here. Chapter 3 on Disinformation is available from page 37 to page 49.
The SDG16 Data Initiative is a consortium dedicated to the implementation and open tracking of progress towards the SDG 16 targets, using non-official data. It aims to evaluate global progress towards realizing the 2030 Agenda. It is intended to provide governments, UN officials, and civil society stakeholders with a resource to help understand progress on SDG16 targets and an evidence base for them to identify gaps and shortcomings in both implementing and monitoring SDG16.
Chapter 3 of the report is dedicated to Disinformation and how it is a disruption towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It discusses "the main ways to classify the types of inaccurate information, and the terminology used to describe them. It then provides an overview of the key drivers for the increasing spread of such information." It also "delves in more detail into the main ways in which the circulation of inaccurate information creates headwinds for development progress."

Internews

While the report focuses on the question of what might Internews and other stakeholders - NGOs, civil society organizations, media, digital platforms, legislators, government, academia, and private sector - do better or differently to help address the issue of disinformation in the Philippines, the study's recommendations are wide-ranging and might apply to donors and practitioners in many other Asian countries. The research, for example, suggests that donors need to set up sustainable funding infrastructures that guarantee the independence from specific political agendas; It recommends improving dynamic interfaces between researchers, fact-checkers, and journalists, with the approach followed by Harvard's Shorenstein Center given as a model.

UNESCO/ICFJ

A disturbing trend of online violence - from doxxing to death threats - is often tied to larger disinformation campaigns aimed at undermining public trust in fact-based journalism.

Verité Research

This report provides crucial contextual information about the situation of media vulnerability to disinformation in Sri Lanka and highlights the challenges journalism support against disinformation might face in countries where the mainstream media is co-opted by the State or has internalized racist, xenophobic, or hateful attitudes.

Internews - YVONNE T. CHUA, NICOLE CURATO & JONATHAN CORPUS ONG

While the report focuses on the question of what might Internews and other stakeholders - NGOs, civil society organizations, media, digital platforms, legislators, government, academia, and private sector - do better or differently to help address the issue of disinformation in the Philippines, the study's recommendations are wide-ranging and might apply to donors and practitioners in many other Asian countries. The research, for example, suggests that donors need to set up sustainable funding infrastructures that guarantee independence from specific political agendas; It recommends improving dynamic interfaces between researchers, fact-checkers, and journalists, with the approach followed by Harvard's Shorenstein Center given as a model.

Fondation Hirondelle

This report from Fondation Hirondelle outlines their approach to disinformation, which “centres on the fundamental principles of journalism and on the lessons learned from over 25 years of applying these principles in highly fragile contexts, where access to reliable information for the majority is not a given, and where rumours, hate speech and propaganda undermine peace building and development.”
It features recommendations for governments and development aid donors; policymakers and institutions; media owners; companies and web and social media organisations.

Internews - RACHEAL JOLLEY

This Internews research study finds that a global COVID-19 vaccine rollout must be coupled with funding and strategies to support trusted local media worldwide. The report demonstrates an urgent need to support groups at the local level if misinformation and mistrust are to be tackled effectively.
Download the full report here.

National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies - SAMANTHA BRADSHAW & LISA-MARIA NEUDERT

“Civil society organizations (CSOs) play a central role in addressing disinformation’s growing impact on democracy. Given the vast scope of the global disinformation challenge, the landscape for CSOs working in this space has evolved rapidly in recent years. [...] How has civil society grown in its understanding and response to the digital disinformation challenge and what should be done to further empower this work? [...] This research yielded several clear observations about the state of CSO responses to disinformation and, in turn, suggests several recommendations for paths forward.”

Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ)

The policy paper is based on polls involving 229 Arab journalists and dialogue with 17 experts from the press, representatives of local and international institutions concerned with training and supporting journalists, as well as representatives of Facebook, Twitter and Google.
The paper comprises three chapters. First, it discusses what fake news is, distinguishing it from other variations of misinformation and refuting common assumptions surrounding it; second, it unpacks the state of fake news in the Arab world during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically until August 2020; third, it names the most important methods used in the region to confront this news, discussing their effectiveness and shortcomings. Finally, the paper puts forward recommendations to prevent and combat the regional spread of misleading news.

Broadband Commission research report on ‘Freedom of Expression and Addressing Disinformation on the Internet’ September 2020

See especially the section “Typology of Disinformation Responses” and then goes into detail about each type of intervention on how are the responses evaluated.

The Engine Room - BARBARA PAES

This research project explores ways to build a more equitable technology and data for human rights ecosystem–especially in terms of funding.
"As the Covid-19 pandemic triggers global socio-economic instability, civil society organisations depend on built-in resilience and accumulated resources to remain sustainable, making this research feel all the more critical."
Ahead of a report detailing the research findings, some emerging insights were shared in this article.

UNESCO - CHERILYN IRETON & JULIE POSETTI

UNESCO's new handbook is an essential addition to teaching syllabi for all journalism educators, as well as practising journalists and editors who are interested in information, how we share it and how we use it.
Written by experts in the fight against disinformation, this handbook explores the very nature of journalism - with modules on why trust matters; thinking critically about how digital technology and social platforms are conduits of the information disorder; fighting back against disinformation and misinformation through media and information literacy; fact-checking 101; social media verification and combatting online abuse.
Download the full handbook in 24 languages here.

Council of Europe - CLAIRE WARDKE & HOSSEIN DERAKHSHAN

This report was published by the Council of Europe, with support from the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and First Draft.
Contemporary social technology means that we are witnessing something new: information pollution at a global scale. How do we begin to address information pollution?
This report provides a new framework for policy-makers, legislators, researchers, technologists and practitioners working on the theoretical and practical challenges related to mis-, dis- and mal-information — the three elements of information disorder.
While the historical impact of rumours and fabricated content have been well documented, the complexity and scale of information pollution in our digitally-connected, increasingly polarised world presents an unprecedented challenge.
There is an immediate need to work collaboratively on workable solutions and this report provides a framework for the different stakeholders involved in research, policy discussions, and technical innovations connected to this phenomenon of information disorder.

GEORGIA

East-West Management Institute & the United Nations Association of Georgia

The overall approach to disinformation in Georgia has, to date, been mostly reactive and defensive; however there is a notable trend towards proactivity. Lack of trust and cooperation between the government and civil society is diminishing the effect of efforts carried out by these parties. Therefore, there is a clear need for a more coordinated approach between state and non-state actors. There is also a need for a more comprehensive study of public perceptions and permeability to disinformation and key factors affecting these perceptions.

WHAT IS MISSING?

This resource page is a work in progress. Please get in touch to let us know what is missing using this form.