Misinformation in the MENA Region

Misinformation, a Phenomenon Increasing with Internet and Social Media

Misinformation, as illustrated by the term “fake news”, is not a new phenomenon but it has gained particular traction with the boom of the internet & social media. Misinformation comes in multiple forms, as propaganda, hoax, and satire, clickbait, and rumors, depending on the motivation behind their creation or spread. The current prevalence of fake news carries significant economic, political, social, and sanitary impacts on societies across the world and in the MENA region. For example, fake news could potentially undermine trust in MENA governments, news media & peer reviews with an impact on Arabs’ behavior and spending patterns; in addition, as experienced recently, fake news could diffuse excessive & unfounded information about COVID-19 that hampers health officials’ efforts to provide life-saving prevention information to citizens.

In this context, key MENA policy actors and civil society are rising to the challenge and aspire to play a crucial role in fighting misinformation at the local level. Governments also have largely responded to the fake news phenomenon through regulatory and short-term measures against offenders. Going forward, best practices suggest that MENA involved stakeholders should further focus on:

a) educating citizens, through targeted media & digital literacy national campaigns,

b) enhancing and boosting fact-checking efforts and resources to debunk fake news,

c) building vertical competencies/capacity (e.g. special task forces / special commissions) to actively monitor and address related issues and

d) developing and maintaining the required partnership ecosystem with social media companies and digital players.

Being present in the MENA region for more than 15 years, and having successfully collaborated with key local policymakers, regulators, public and private actors, Euromena Consulting team is well versed to provide tangible support and advice in this fast-moving and advancing misinformation ecosystem. For more information on our related service offerings and project references, please visit us at www.euromenaconsulting.com 

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