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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Innovation in Countering Disinformation: Toward Globally Networked Civil Society

Thursday , 30 December 2021
The threat to democracy from disinformation was spotlighted on the world stage this year when the Nobel Committee awarded its Peace Prize to Filipino journalist Maria Ressa for her pioneering work countering digital disinformation and supporting independent media in an increasingly hostile environment in the Philippines. In her words: “the collapse of democracy starts with the breakdown of facts. And if you don’t have facts, you don’t have the shared reality to find the right path. This is a global problem.”

The explosion of information accessibility, polarization in traditional media, and the rise of social media have all contributed to democracy’s global decline over the past fifteen years. As our understanding of the challenges deepen, a new vision is emerging to combat it. Driven by novel research and learning across borders, this vision recognizes the essential role that networked communities of civic activists and journalists can play when equipped with research and response tools, opportunities to learn from each other about shared challenges driven by a common digital revolution, and genuine access to social media platforms and regulatory bodies. 

A loosely connected, constantly learning global network of counter-disinformation responders—with the benefit of greater access to platforms and additional resources from funders—can serve as a bulwark against evolving threats to the integrity of the information space. Although these threats travel across borders rapidly, civil society organizations countering them can respond by learning from one another’s innovations, successes, and failures. New innovations in the field include media development in closed messaging platforms like WhatsApp, addressing offline sources of disinformation, empowering investigative journalism to hunt down disinformation networks, and better equipping under-threat organizations in illiberal and authoritarian settings.

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