December 16, 2018

Call for a multi-stakeholder engagement to counter online misinformation

Experts called for a multi-stakeholder engagement among different stakeholders across the spectrum to counter online misinformation.

These suggestions were put forth during a workshop organized by Media Matters for Democracy at 2018 Internet Governance Forum which was held on November 12-14, 2018 in Paris, France.

During the workshop, panelists from Pakistan, Srilanka, Latin America, Africa et al shared their experiences facing misinformation and countering them.

Asad Baig from Media Matters for Democracy shared his experience tracking down misinformation over Facebook and Twitter. He shared that one of the ways misinformation was spread was either by the renowned political personalities and journalists or through fake online websites established in the name of renowned personalities. He noted that social media giants were focusing only on countering misinformation in English and ignoring how it was being spread in Urdu and also through the use of images. However, he expressed skepticism about the strategies often presented as panacea to counter misinformation. He was particularly critical of the fact checking initiatives and noted that they were presented from the global north as a viable solution without taking into account the nuances of the Global South.

Ishara from Srilanka highlighted the prevalent use of disinformation during the recent political turmoil in Srilanka. She noted that political personalities were involved in sharing misinformation using Facebook and Whatsapp but noted that people shared them because they believed it to be true. Referring to a research, she noted that 20% of the Facebook accounts in Srilanka were fake. Looking at how to counter misinformation, she shared that she was focusing on the quality of the journalistic content that they produced for their websites.

Rosyln from DW Akademie talked about her experience running the media literacy programs in different parts of the world. She acknowledged that these media literacy programs were not the only but one of the solutions to counter misinformation.

Padrig Hughes Media Legal Defence Initiative, MLDI, touched upon the legal aspects of disinformation and how this could lead to criminalize freedom of expression.

 

Written by

Talal Raza is a Program Manager at Media Matters for Democracy. He has worked with renowned media organizations and NGOs including Geo News, The Nation, United States Institute of Peace and Privacy International.

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