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How can disinformation and manipulation be prevented andcountered?

Publication of the II Sahel Europe Dialogue Forum

16 October 2022

On the 14th, 15th and 16th of July 2022, the International Security Centre of the Francisco de Vitoria University (CSI - UFV) organised the 2nd edition of the Sahel-Europe Dialogue Forum. Several workshops, conferences and master classes allowed international experts to examine and discuss the situation and stability of the Sahel. During the workshop entitled "How to prevent and counter disinformation and manipulation? "moderated by Beatriz Mesa, Africa specialist, Seidik Abba, journalist and writer, analyst of current affairs in West Africa; Mohamed Ag Ahmedou, director of Mehari Consulting and Mehari Post; Wassim Nasr, journalist for France 24, terrorism specialist and Africa analyst; and Javier Fernández Arribas, director of Atalayar, discussed the keys to journalism in the Sahel, the context of disinformation and the manipulation of information in the Sahel, while proposing concrete recommendations.

Download the document in French, English and Spanish

¿Cómo prevenir y contrarrestar la desinformación y la manipulación_
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Comment prévenir et contrer la désinformation et la manipulation _
Download PDF • 1.44MB
How can disinformation and manipulation be prevented and countered_
Download PDF • 1.42MB

Historically, Sahelian states began to open up to the media in earnest in the 1990s, following the decline of military and authoritarian regimes that had maintained a monopoly on information through censorship. However, the Sahelian media landscape has changed since then. The media has a decisive influence on the perception of reality. Disinformation, a real threat to security and stability in the Sahel, is defined as a communication process that consists of using the media to transmit partially erroneous information in order to mislead or influence public opinion. While this is not a new challenge, the internet is contributing to the spread of disinformation faster than ever before. In this sense, combating the spread of disinformation and the potential threats it poses has become a critical challenge. In an armed conflict where information is equal to a weapons system, the possessor of information has the power to contribute to security.

This article reviews the current context of disinformation and manipulation in the Sahel, examining the value of journalistic responsibility, the challenges facing journalists and the phenomenon of social media and fake news.

This analysis is part of a series of research studies conducted by the International Security Centre on dialogue with the Sahel. Following the Sahel-Europe Dialogue Forum held in March 2021, the speakers belonging to the Sahel-Europe Dialogue Forum's panel of experts have deepened the themes of their conferences, analysing the shared challenges, and the opportunities for cooperation on our common challenges. This analysis was carried out by Beatriz de León Cobo, Director of the Sahel-Europe Dialogue Forum, based on the notes of the conference of the same title with the collaboration of Julie Bonin, French Army Reservist. Photo FLORENT VERGNES / AFP.



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