Disinformation media and abstract screen. Fly between glitch and noise text concept of fake news, hoax, false information and propaganda 3d illustration. Credit: Alicja Nowakowska

Freedom Online Coalition Urges Action on Misinformation and Disinformation Online

In 2024, at least half the world’s population is expected to go to the polls. 19 African countries are scheduled for elections as part of this historic year. It is worth noting that technology continues to play an increasing role during election periods worldwide, and this year’s elections are no exception. 

In light of this, the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) has released a Joint Statement on Information Integrity Online and Elections. The statement underscores the importance of open, free, and inclusive public debate and free and fair elections in any democracy to hold governments accountable and responsive to their citizens. It also highlights the importance of digital technologies for democratic engagement, information sharing, political mobilisation, and enjoyment of human rights.

The term ‘Information integrity’ is defined as:

“an open and accessible information ecosystem that produces accurate, trustworthy, and reliable information, meaning that people can rely on the accuracy of the information they access while being exposed to a variety of ideas.” 

Further, the statement highlights some challenges technology brings to elections in 2024. Specifically, the Coalition expresses concern over their use in spreading misinformation and disinformation through AI-generated content. It notes that misinformation and disinformation could be used to intentionally sow distrust in the information ecosystem, diminish trust in democratic institutions, polarise societies, and impede the efforts of, among others, journalists, researchers, human rights defenders, independent media, judiciaries, and election management bodies.

Given these challenges, the Coalition thus calls on States to: 

  • Promote and protect information integrity; 
  • Respect the work of journalists and media workers;
  • Refrain from imposing internet disruptions; 
  • Stop sponsoring  and conducting disinformation campaigns; and,
  • Ensure measures to combat or regulate disinformation (including AI-generated disinformation) are in accordance with the international human rights law.

Likewise, the Coalition urges online platforms and the broader tech industry to:

  • Respect democracy, human rights and the rule of law;
  • Assess the human rights impact of their products and services;
  • Implement measures to ensure the trustworthiness of products, services and AI tools;
  • Promote information integrity on their platforms; and,
  • Increase transparency and access to data access on misinformation and disinformation.

The FOC’s Task Force on Information Integrity Online (TFIIO) co-chairs drafted the statement with input from Member States of the Coalition and the independent multistakeholder FOC Advisory Network, of which KICTANet is a member.

Victor Kapiyo is a Trustee at KICTANet and represents KICTANet at the FOC Advisory Network.



Victor K information

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