Information integrity versus the forces of disinformation

A man reads a poster with information about reporters killed in the war in Ukraine, during a temporary press memorial in Lviv, Ukraine, 31 March 2022, Ty ONeil/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Information integrity V the forces of disinformation

The tally continues to rise. The Institute of Mass Information’s (IMI) reports that, in the first five months of the war, Russia’s forces committed 428 crimes against the media in Ukraine. These include killing, wounding, kidnapping and shooting at journalists, bombing TV broadcast towers, and cyber attacks against media outlets. According to IMI, 36 journalists have now been killed (8 in the course of their reporting). Six women journalists have lost their lives due to the invasion, and the whereabouts of four journalists who went missing in Russian-occupied territory are still unknown.

Pushback

While the Russian authorities and their supporters try to disrupt access to accurate information about the war — via a ban on Google, for example, or the use of fake video calls with foreign politicians — innovative anti-war activists are finding ways to connect with Russian citizens, including by buying advertisement space on little-moderated porn and gambling websites, and using that to link to independent reports about the invasion.

Ongoing intolerance of dissent

In Belarus, the Lukashenka government’s intolerance of dissent was on full display in July when jailed journalist Katsiaryna Andrejeva was sentenced to serve a further eight years in prison on spurious treason charges. A correspondent for Belsat TV, Andrejeva was due for release in September 2022, by which time she would have completed a separate two-year sentence handed to her in 2021 for “organising mass protests”.

UK backsliding on human rights

Following a five-day visit to the UK (27 June to 1 July), the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, laid out her concerns about the country’s backsliding on human rights. Among the issues she highlighted was the populist, right-wing government’s proposed repeal of the Human Rights Act and its replacement with a ‘Bill of Rights’, which rights groups argue will weaken human rights protections in the country.

“Could have been more ambitious”

July saw the European Parliament adopt the Digital Services Act (DSA), setting rules for internet platforms across the EU.

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IFEX is a global network of organisations that defend and promote the right to freedom of expression and information. Email: info@ifex.org

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IFEX

IFEX

IFEX is a global network of organisations that defend and promote the right to freedom of expression and information. Email: info@ifex.org