Tracking governments' responses to disinformation

After's 2018 'year of techlash', WAN-Ifra has released a report looking at the remedies adopted by governments to combat disinformation.

In its Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions, Reuters Institute and Oxford University used the term to discuss the diverse intent and effects behind governments' remedies for disinformation. Politics, news media, and the public were all seen rebelling against the omnipotence of Silicon Valley with increasing demands that tech giants be held accountable for their influence on democratic processes and their exploitation of private data to turn massive profits.

The report analyses the regulatory responses across the Americas, Africa and the Middle East, Europe and Oceania. Proposals are extremely fragmented, and while the shared objective is to fight the spread of disinformation, there is no unique regulatory solution, and it says the results "often raise serious concerns for freedom of expression".

It defines "at least two" main trends - countries have criminalising the spread of disinformation by sanctioning users and/or social media platforms for failure to comply with domestic legislation; and those which have chosen not to intervene in the information market, electing instead to further promote media literacy and forming task forces and working groups to analyse the risks.

"It seems at any rate safe to say that democracies at all stages of development feel that disinformation threatens their systems, and it needs to be regulated," says the report.

The report is available to download here, and is free to employees of member organisations.

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