Challenges Forum Expert Group – Misinformation and Disinformation

In collaboration with the UN Department of Peace Operations, Challenges Forum held an Expert Group meeting on emerging issues for Peace Operations to gain a deeper understanding of and share ideas on how peace operations could address the growing spread and impact of misinformation and disinformation.  

Susanna Ahlfors (CFIS), Fanny Wellén (CFIS), Sharon Wiharta (CFIS), Stephanie Coutrix (UNDPO), Benoît Pylyser (CFIS), David Creelman (CFIS), Nick Birnback (UNDPO), Jonas Alberoth (CFIS), Yasaman Asgari (UN), Marlien Schlaphoff (ZIF), Shashi Asthana (USI India), Jake Sherman (IPI), Gustavo de Carvalho (ISS), Linnéa Gelot (FBA), Roberto Gil (SINOMAP), Annika Hansen (ZIF), Priyal Singh (ISS), Naomi Miyashita (UNDPO), Johanna Gårdmark (FBA), Sunil Narula (UNDGC), Dawit Yohannes (ISS), Ryan Wolfgram (PKSOI), Seba Issa (CCCPA), Larysa Lacko (NATO)

Peace operations face growing challenges related to misinformation, disinformation and hate speech which can have long-term effects on missions’ credibility and perceptions of efficacy and legitimacy across a range of key audiences at the local, regional and international levels. Strengthening strategic communications is also a key priority outlined in the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P+) initiative. The multifaceted nature of mis- and disinformation was highlighted, notably the political dimensions. Disinformation and hate speech in particular therefore require a nuanced, and multidisciplinary approach that is led by sound conflict analysis and a good understanding of the political landscape, followed by tactics and techniques to manage and respond to them.

General takeaways from the meeting were: a need for renewed thinking and a mindset shift to engage proactively on mis-and disinformation, increased partnerships with grassroots organisations as well as the tech industry, and an integrated approach of both digital and traditional peacekeeping skills to handle the threat of misinformation and disinformation.