Responses To Information Disorders: What can governments do?

This policy brief draws on the analysis of a scoping study which investigated efforts to counter information disorders in Sub-Saharan Africa undertaken by Research ICT Africa in conjunction with the University of Cape Town. The brief highlights some of the actors’ opinions on governmental efforts to combat the disorder and makes recommendations on how governments in sub-Saharan African can improve in their endeavours as well as their role in supporting non-state actors. Some of the key takeaways include:

  • Government actions to counter information disorders are compromised by lack of access-to-information laws, legislative loopholes and a limited understanding of the complex nature of information disorders.
  • Lack of accountability of many governments in Africa coupled with a lack of accountability on the part of social media platforms creates an enabling environment for the circulation of mis/disinformation and where government is concerned, the use of laws to deter state critics and defenders of human rights.
  • Governments should prioritise the education of politicians as an important step in developing effective state responses to ameliorating information disorders as well as collaborate with civil society organisations working on improving media and digital literacy for citizens.
  • Governments, and particularly information regulators where they exist, could also support independent fact checking organisations to develop capacity to counter dis/misinformation.

The full scoping study is due to be published during this first quarter of 2022.

Suggested citation

Sey, A., Shilongo, K., & Hlomani, H. (2022). Responses To Information Disorders: What can governments do? [Policy Brief].