Supporting Elections In The Age Of Misinformation And Disinformation
UNAMI OEA’S SUPPORT TO IHEC IN COMBATING MISINFORMATION AND DISINFORMATION DURING THE 2021 COR ELECTIONS.
Social media has become an increasingly important part of the electoral process, as it provides a platform for electoral stakeholders like electoral management bodies (EMBs), politicians and political parties, civil society organizations (CSO) to reach out to voters and engage with them. It can be a useful tool for voters to stay informed about the issues and to connect with others.
However, social media has also been used to spread misinformation and disinformation during elections such as false or misleading information about EMBs, its leadership and other concerned national and international stakeholders like the United Nations and its management, candidates, their policies, or the electoral process itself. In the Iraqi context, the threat of misinformation and disinformation has been particularly significant in recent years. Iraq has a young and rapidly growing population, with over half of its population under the age of 25. This demographic has been particularly susceptible to the spread of misinformation and disinformation on social media platforms, which have become an increasingly important source of news and information for many Iraqis. Misinformation and disinformation can undermine public trust in elections and the electoral process, and can even influence the outcome of elections. As a result, it is important for EMBs to timely act to combat misinformation and disinformation in order to protect the integrity of elections with proper strategies. This report highlights United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), Office of Electoral Assistance (OEA) support to Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) in combating misinformation and disinformation in the context or 2021 Council of Representatives (CoR) elections. This report aims to document the support of OEA to IHEC and provide insights that may be useful for other EMBs facing similar challenges.