IGF 2023 WS #479 Disinformation erodes fortitude of African civil society


Human Rights & Freedoms
Rights to Access and Information
Technology in International Human Rights Law

Organizer 1: Simone Toussi, 🔒CIPESA
Organizer 2: Juliet Nanfuka, Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)
Organizer 3: Nadine Kampire, Afia Amani Grand Lacs
Organizer 4: Emmanuel Bida, DefyHateNow / 211 Check

Speaker 1: Emmanuel Bida, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Nadine Kampire, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Allan Cheboi, Civil Society, African Group


Simone Toussi, Civil Society, African Group

Online Moderator

Simone Toussi, Civil Society, African Group


Juliet Nanfuka, Civil Society, African Group


Round Table - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

* What challenges do stakeholders face in countering disinformation in Africa?
* How to ensure that disinformation countermeasures put in place by governments do not target, intimidate or silence critical voices?
* What are the avenues and opportunities to build trustworthy online spaces and a robust, safe and resilient civil society in African countries in the fight against disinformation?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Key take aways from the workshop will be:
* A general knowledge on the dynamics of disinformation campaigns in Africa with their strategies, pathways and instigators
* An understanding of how governments’ countermeasures to disinformation threaten the civil society and violate democratic principles
* Experts' insights and reflections on ensuring trustworthy digital spaces and a more effective and resilient civil society


Disinformation is still a growing threat to the stability and resilience of the global digital society, affecting democracy actors and shaking up the civic space. As disinformation unfolds its myriad harmful effects on fundamental rights, civic engagement, and public safety across Africa, it weakens the abilities of human rights defenders, journalists, and the general public to develop effective countermeasures. This panel will bring together experts from Africa and beyond, to discuss the tactics, pathways, instigators and effects of disinformation campaigns in the region. They will interrogate effectiveness of the role of various stakeholders in countering disinformation including the impact of government countermeasures on online civil liberties and rights, challenges for civil society in preserving civil rights amidst disinformation campaigns. The panel will also consider how stakeholders can come together to build trustworthy online spaces and a more resilient and effective civil society.

Expected Outcomes

A set of practical recommendations and suggestions on fighting disinformation while ensuring an open civic space will be gathered from inputs of experts and the audience (online and onsite)

Hybrid Format: The session will be an interactive round table between speakers and participants, with online interactions and a sufficient time for questions and answers.
60 minutes session organized as follows:
* Kick-off debate with interventions/inputs from three speakers (two onsite and one online, + one moderator onsite who cooperates with online chat moderator) and focus at least 30 minutes on the interactive part with participants
* Online engagement tools like Slido will be used for collecting questions and comments and for gaining a better picture of the audience’ notion via polls and word clouds. Moderator will pick up these results to guide the debate.
* The audience onsite and online will be enabled to contribute equally to the Workshop, by moderators taking rotational questions and comments from the virtual and physical floor.