NRIs Collaborative Session on Fake News

Fake News, Disinformation, Misinformation: Challenges for Internet Governance



  1. Colombia IGF
  2. Croatia IGF
  3. Dutch IGF
  4. IGF-USA
  5. Nigeria IGF
  6. UK-IGF

Session title

Fake News, Disinformation, Misinformation: Challenges for Internet Governance

Session format and timing

Total duration of this session will be 90 minutes.

This session will attempt to be both informative, and interactive between NRIs who have signed up for this NRI session, while also accommodating a brief audience question/comment period. After the opening statement of the moderator(s) which be limited to five minutes to provide an overview of the session, and describe the format, Segment I will focus on understanding the discussions that took place at these NRIs, exchanging also among the organizing NRIs [ 25 minutes] via lightening comments  of 3 minutes from a designated speaker[s] from each of the organizing NRIs, followed by 1-2 minute exchanges among the designated NRI speakers.  

Segment II will be prioritized to hearing a brief round of inputs/comments from any remote NRIs who have previously advised they wish to speak [2-3 minute statements/contributions about what their NRI addressed on this topic, or directly related topics] with priority to any remote hubs of the organizing NRIs who addressed Fake News/Misinformation/Disinformation in their 2017 NRI.  

Segment III: Open Mike, to include both speakers in the room, and remote [but not attending the IGF2017 in person] persons interested/concerned about these issues.  All comments will be limited to 2 minute time slots. 

Segment IV: Summing up from the Rapporteurs in support of the Moderator(s), including identifying as possible, any “messages”, or outputs or key ideas from the Session followed by final comments and thoughts of the moderator(s) about how to advance further work on these important issues.


Content of the session

Determining what is fake news, misinformation, or disinformation, how it has grown, whether it is a real threat to the online world, how it affects citizens, and even elections, or other essential decisions taken at a local/national, or global level has emerged as a major topic of discussion and potentially challenge to the online world. The online communications facilitated by the Internet brings individuals, organizations, and even governments together to share information and exchanges. Yet, if the information cannot be trusted as factual, it may affect decisions and even misinform them. Such concerns affect who trusts whom, who is reliable as a source of information, and what is factual, or non factual, or is only a personal view that can be amplified through the use of online tools. 

The topic of “fake news” or “faked news” or disinformation has gained significant visibility in the last two years. Several NRIs addressed these issues, and are thus organizing this NRI to NRI exchange. They have all taken unique approaches as is suitable to the bottom up approach of each NRI, but the concerns about what is factual, whether via news channels, online messages, or other mechanism are a consistent theme across all the organizing the NRIs to this session. In some countries, and independent media is increasingly challenged. Online information sources, which may present themselves as “independent media” may not bring true independence or fact checking that is independent.  

 This session does not compete or replicate any of the five workshops approved by the IGF MAG, but attendance by any of such workshop organizers as observers is very welcomed.

NRIs respond to a very bottom up input from their communities, so they bring forward information that is unique to their own communities. 


Speakers/Resource persons

Speakers will be drawn from each NRI that is organizing because they included a session directly relevant to these topics. Designated speakers who are appointed by their NRI will be limited to 1-3, although others from their NRI may attend the session. Anyone speaking on behalf of the NRIs should be designated as such a speaker to present information about the discussions that took place within the NRI.  

The agreement of the NRIs in requesting these special sessions was to reflect work within the NRIs, and not to compete with workshops that are submitted into the MAG open call for workshops, thus, the focus will be on those NRIs that addressed this topic, and outreach to other NRIs that might be interested in these topics for NRI discussions for 2018. 

So far confirmed speakers:

- Mr. Hrvoje Lisicar, Croatia IGF, Faculty of Law in Zagreb University

- Mr Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola, Nigeria IGF, Chairman, Consultancy Support Services (CS2) Limited

Relevance of the issue

​Trust in the online world, often referred to as the Internet, but encompassing the World Wide Web and social media is being eroded by a growing lack of trust. 

Some are suggesting that they will not use online services  as they are filled with trolls, malware, viruses. Yet, the digitization of all applications means that citizens really need to use online applications, whether financial, government services, or business services. Many people get the majority of their “news” now, online, as they can’t afford, or can’t access traditional media.

Without credible online resources, the Internet and World Wide Web will erode as trusted sources - and that affects billions of users, who have been told that being online is where you find facts and truth not only about your own communities, but about the world at large. Historically, print media and broadcast media have been held to standards of fact checking. Is the online surrogate for “news” being held to any standard? And if not, why not? And, is the solution merely educating citizens to do their own due diligence? If so, what are the sources they should use for such information?   


Interventions/Engagement with participants (onsite and online)

Remote participation of the NRIs remote hubs will have priority: 

As some NRIs will not be able to send many of their participating community members to the IGF2017, some will be organizing remote hubs. For any NRI that either focused on this topic during their NRI, or has a strong interest, a priority for ensuring that they have a speaking slot during the Remote Participants section will be developed, using a request to speak submitted to the remote moderator. A deadline will be established for these formal requests, so that such speakers will be recognized and ensured a time slot, just as on site NRI presenters are. 

Additionally, there is an open mike segment for those attending on site, but who were not addressing this topic in 2017, but may bring perspectives or expertise to these topics. 


Geographical, Stakeholder and Gender Diversity

The NRIs themselves are reflective of geographical diversity, and at their national, subregional, or regional level reflect stakeholder diversity.  The speakers selected from the NRIs will be based on their individual criteria for expertise, experience, and support from their NRI to represent and engage on behalf of their NRI. Already, the NRIs co organizing bring geographical diversity. We will not require that the presenters come from any particular stakeholder group, or gender, as they are speaking on behalf of entities that reflect all three of these diversities. We will be encouraging diverse attendance from all NRIs to this session, and that will undoubtedly result in diversity across these three categories in our audience. 

Onsite moderator(s)

IGF-USA, Marilyn Cade

UK-IGF Nick, Wenban-Smith

Colombian IGF, Julian Casasbuenas

Online moderator(s)

Nigeria IGF Representative


Nataša Glavor, Croatia IGF

Dutch Youth IGF

Online participation logistics

NRIs that may be providing remote hubs should be invited to join this session and request a speaking slot ahead of time, to ensure that they are included equally with on site designated speakers

The session will use the WebEx remote participation tools provided by the IGF Secretariat.

Use of Social Media: 

In addition, this session will invite a dedicated person to tweet about the session and to follow any retweeting, or other tweeting about this session. 

The remote moderators should be seated in a prominent place, so that on site moderator(s) can easily see them. However, by designating a specific time slot for remote contributions from remote NRI hubs, we can ensure that remote speakers have equal contribution access. 

Two microphones should be available for use in inviting comments from the in-room participants.  


Discussion facilitation

To support the discussion within the NRI to NRI Exchange, each of the organizing NRIs will be invited to provide a one to two pager about their specific session on these topics which will be posted as “background information”. The moderator(s) will be invited to strive to have exchanges among the NRIs speaking, and those making remote comments and on site comments.