Confronting the challenges of information disorder
Information disorder — the large-scale disruption of the public sphere with rumours, hate speech, dangerous and unfounded conspiracy theories, harmful misunderstandings, and orchestrated campaigns of deception — is increasingly recognized as one of the greatest governance challenges of our time.Read more
Information disorder — the large-scale disruption of the public sphere with rumours, hate speech, dangerous and unfounded conspiracy theories, harmful misunderstandings, and orchestrated campaigns of deception — is increasingly recognized as one of the greatest governance challenges of our time. The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated “infodemic” of harmful myths and bogus cures provides a reminder of what is at stake.
The information disorder field of research and action is in its infancy and is largely dominated by a small cadre of experts in the Global North. In the Global South, the unique complexities and manifestations of the information disorder — and the distinct considerations for policy and practice — are still poorly understood. There are a few efforts that offer valuable and actionable insights, but these tend be geographically limited, siloed, and poorly integrated within policy debates.
This project will focus on current efforts that collect significant data and analyze the nature of misinformation and disinformation as it impacts elections, gender-based violence, hate speech, and data governance. It will contribute to addressing knowledge gaps by weaving together the different media and technology silos and identifying, synthesizing, and connecting evidence-driven efforts in the Global South. The aim is to establish the research agenda and ultimately to find solutions to the information disorder by learning from applied approaches, including fact-checking, media monitoring, and the tracking of online mis/disinformation in the Global South; unpacking and synthesizing the research landscape on information disorder; and mapping frameworks and connecting key actors to identify entry points for policy and action-oriented research in the Global South.
The research was conducted collaboratively, with regional reports provided by local teams from Research ICT Africa, InternetLab (Latin America and the Caribbean), LIRNEasia (Asia), and Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (Middle East and North Africa). 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.