Countering disinformation in the digital public sphere


Media Sustainability Index (MSI)

The takeaway from two major hearings — one in the United Kingdom convened by legislators from nine countries, another in the U.S. Senate — is that regulators increasingly seem ready to transform their rhetoric into action and rein in social media companies that many foreign governments view as responsible for the spread of misinformation, hate speech and other digital ills, Tony Romm writes for The Washington Post.

McGill University’s Digital Democracy Project (DDP) will commission research and journalism to gain a greater understanding of how disinformation is growing in the digital ecosystem. This work flows from PPF’s earlier studies, including The Shattered Mirror: News, Democracy and Trust in the Digital Age and Democracy Divided: Countering Disinformation and Hate in the Digital Public Sphere.

For nearly two decades, the Media Sustainability Index (MSI) has provided in-depth analysis of the conditions for independent media in 80 countries across the world.

The latest findings from the MSI, from 21 European and Eurasian countries, depict a slowly eroding foundation for independent news in the region. Journalists are under threat, financial pressures are a growing burden on editorial independence, and propaganda and disinformation continue to infiltrate news narratives. How can media experts, civil society, and regulators better respond to such sweeping trends? How will they know they are succeeding in a complex and fast-changing information environment?

IREX Senior Technical Advisor Tara Susman-Peña will present key trends and conclusions from the 2018 MSI and introduce a new framework for measuring complex information systems, stemming from IREX’s vibrant information approach. Rodger Potocki, Senior Director of Europe Programs at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and Nina Jankowicz, Wilson Center Global Fellow at the Kennan Institute, will provide insight on the information space more broadly and how audiences understand and evaluate the news they receive. Together with George Sarpong, Reagan-Fascell Fellow at the NED, the panel will discuss how such research and analysis can better support media policies that ensure free, pluralistic, and responsible news media.

Lunch will be served 12:00-12:15pm.


Nina Jankowicz, Wilson Center Global Fellow, Kennan Institute

George Sarpong, Reagan-Fascell Fellow, National Endowment for Democracy

Tara Susman-Peña, Senior Technical Advisor, IREX


Rodger Potocki, Senior Director of Europe Programs, National Endowment for Democracy

Thu, December 13, 2018

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM EST

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