Responses to Information Disorders: What can Governments Do?

This research brief draws on early findings of the sub-Saharan Africa study to highlight key areas requiring state intervention. Interviews with actors, primarily civil society organisations in the sub-Saharan region revealed a high level of distrust in government interventions to counter information disorders. Historically, both colonial and independent states in sub-Saharan Africa have intentionally spread falsehoods and used media to incite fear and maintain political order and even precipitate genocide. The distrust in public institutions and governments is therefore not unfounded. However, an analysis of the actors' methods and their perceptions of the infodemic show that there is a need for government intervention. This brief proposes ways governments in Sub-Saharan Africa can effectively counter the infodemic. It outlines some governance gaps in countering information disorders and recommends actions governments could take to close these gaps. The full report of the study is to be published later in 2022 and will include perspectives from sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America.