The Expression, Information and Digital Rights (EIDR) unit in collaboration with the Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe (MISA-Zimbabwe) conducted a capacity-building workshop on promoting rights-respecting approaches to disinformation for Community-based Organisations (CBOs) on 17 November in Harare, Zimbabwe. Representatives from the media fraternity and academic institutions were also in attendance.
The workshop explored concepts related to information disorder including misinformation and disinformation, and their impact on, among others issues, elections and democracy. It covered regulatory responses and state action on misinformation and disinformation in Zimbabwe, and the opportunities and threats which these responses may pose to human rights, particularly freedom of expression. LEXOTA, an interactive online tool that tracks and analyses laws and policies related to the restriction of freedom of expression across Sub-Saharan Africa was a central reference resource for the discussion. The tool was developed by a consortium of partners including the EIDR unit of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. The discussion was guided by international human rights law and standards relating to freedom of expression, including article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Declaration on Principles of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, and other relevant human rights instruments.
Participants expressed that among the key takeaways was understanding the role of CBOs in contributing to a healthy information ecosystem through proactively promoting access to accurate and credible information, and challenging misinformation and disinformation. Through the knowledge and skills gained from the workshop, they were better placed to verify and factcheck information. Their unique positioning at community and grassroots levels also provides an opportunity for knowledge sharing and skills transfer by engaging with both connected and unconnected local communities as well as local leaders and opinion shapers to improve their media and digital literacy practices. Cross pollination of information disorder from online and offline sources, and the spread of misinformation and disinformation through offline sources such as rallies, churches, and community meetings necessitates strategies that tackle information disorder both online and offline. This urgency is reinforced in the leadup to the 2023 elections in Zimbabwe to counter information disorder that may compromise the development of an informed electorate, manipulate or obstruct voter choices, threaten free, fair and credible elections, and/or compromise peaceful elections. Tackling this disorder requires a multi-stakeholder effort from the grassroots to the higher echelons of power. Notably, the discussions of the workshop featured on an online new site.
For more information, contact:
Expression, Information and Digital Rights Unit
Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 4199
Fax: +27 (0) 86 580 5743
Project Officer: Expression, Information and Digital Rights Unit
Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 3810
Fax: +27 (0) 86 580 5743