The Hive Mind community is an online learning hub with free self-paced courses and other helpful resources for a global digital activism community. Building digital resilience requires equipping individuals, civil society organisations, and communities with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to navigate the challenges and risks posed by the digital world. The countering Disinformation Masterclass was a success, and we were honored to have subject matter experts Professor Anton Harber, Robyn Porteous, Nomshando Lungisi Nkosinkulu Dominka Pratanksa, and Chelsea Ndlovu. Professor Anton Harber gave a very informative, outstanding speech that delved into differentiating between misinformation, disinformation, and the historical perspective that disinformation has existed as long as people have communicated and had mass media. ‘’Every new media technology has brought an increasing panic over its potential abuse misuse and its impact on society, our children and moral standing.”’ – Anton Harber. The knowledgeable and remarkable Professor highlighted how disinformation was used during the COVID-19 global pandemic which resulted in many losing their lives. Professor Anton Harber chairs the board of Africa Check fact-checking to counter disinformation and promotes a culture of facts, relying on and trusting the evidence of facts. Increasing media literacy in all spaces is needed more than ever, to empower people to understand media consumption, choices, and tools that differentiate disinformation and facts. Disinformation is a social and political problem that requires cross-sector collaboration between civil society organisations, activists, media organisations, technology companies, and the government to collectively address this challenge.
Robyn Porteous and Nomshado Lubisi Nkosinkulu from Media Monitoring Africa which is an organisation that has been in existence since 1993 to combat disinformation. COVID-19 power disinformation has, manipulated people's understanding and opinion. Disinformation is a deliberate intention to cause harm, but misinformation is a false narrative. Nomshado Lubisi explained that mal information leads those in power, to hate speech. Disinformation strategies were explained and examples of disinformation on social media were provided for the audience to understand fully. IEC and Media Monitoring Africa have partnered together to combat disinformation, provide accurate information, and provide digital literacy.
Chelsea from PlanAct lamented that development stories are not covered by mainstream media, and interventions must be applied. The civil society is not covered well, thus media coaching is needed for journalists to amplify community voices to counter disinformation.
Understanding the psychological aspects of disinformation is crucial for countering its influence. Participants learn about cognitive biases, confirmation bias, and the persuasive techniques employed by disinformation campaigns. Armed with this knowledge, individuals can develop critical thinking skills and become more discerning consumers of information.
The masterclass delved into the art of fact-checking and verification, providing participants with practical tools and methodologies. Experts introduced participants to reputable fact-checking organisations, online resources, and investigative techniques that help separate truth from falsehood. By becoming skilled fact-checkers, individuals can actively combat the dissemination of disinformation.
Promoting media literacy and critical thinking is a key objective of the masterclass. Participants learn the difference between misinformation, and disinformation and how to evaluate news sources, identify biased reporting, and recognize manipulative techniques used in disinformation campaigns. By developing media literacy skills, individuals are better equipped to navigate the complex information landscape and make informed decisions.
The Countering Disinformation masterclass also focuses on enhancing digital resilience among participants. It covers strategies to identify and respond to disinformation on social media platforms, combat echo chambers, and promote civil discourse. By fostering digital resilience, individuals become active contributors to a healthier and more informed online ecosystem.
The Countering Disinformation masterclass is available: here.