Disinformation and Humanitarian Crisis: Research Networking Event

Monday 13th August, 1 – 3pm 
Department of Journalism at City, University of London.

Jonathan Corpus Ong (City, University of London / University of Massachusetts – Amherst)
Mel Bunce (City, University of London)

This research networking event aims to bring together researchers and practitioners working at the intersection of humanitarian communication and digital disinformation. While most research on digital disinformation has focused on the manipulation of electoral outcomes, this event considers its wider impact in crisis and conflict situations — from sowing racial or religious divisiveness to promoting state-sponsored violence. This event aims to share insights and approaches across disciplines and sectors by considering questions such as:

1) What are the social consequences of digital disinformation to vulnerable communities in conflict situations?

2) What are the motivations and work arrangements of architects of disinformation? What existing legal or self-regulatory frameworks that can be used to disincentivize disinformation production?

3) What have we learned so far about the wealth of research on “rumor cultures” in humanitarian crises? What are the best practices of #commisaid when it comes to fact-checking and how can these feed into verification initiatives aimed at political disinformation?

4) What are organizational and technological support mechanisms that help aid workers address disinformation through their work hierarchies of global, national, and local staff?

5) What kinds of disinformation campaigns are used to delegitimize foreign aid actors (including human rights advocates) in hostile political contexts?

This will be an informal event designed to identify promising areas for research and potential collaboration. Participants will be given time to speak about their research interests.

If you’re interested in participating, please email the organisers (addresses below) with a few sentences about your work by August 3rd. We welcome researchers, journalists, humanitarians, communication specialists and others.

About the Organizers

Jonathan Corpus Ong is a 2018 British Academy Visiting Fellow at City, University of London. He is Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, USA and the author of the report “Architects of Networked Disinformation” jcong@umass.edu

Mel Bunce is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism and the director of the Humanitarian News Research Network at City, University of London. She is currently researching international journalism about humanitarian crises melanie.bunce.1@city.ac.uk