Defending Democracy from Disinformation

POSTPONED: Unfortunately, this Webinar has been postponed until further notice due to illness. We will communicate the new date and time as soon as possible.

The proliferation of online platforms and the ease with which malign forces can manipulate information is greatly undermining democratic institutions. Political disinformation creates chaos, division, and distrust.

It has resulted in parallel universes in which citizens operate with a different set of facts and live in different realities. Disputes over conflicting opinions about how to solve society’s problems have been replaced by a divergent understanding of what the problems are in the first place. 

Disinformation hurts democracy in a multitude of ways.

  • First, it harms electoral processes by endangering the concept of “informed choice”, as voters go to the polls with false information mixed in with conspiracies. It may also damage electoral legitimacy, by spreading lies about the electoral result and its fairness, as we see today in the United States. 


  • Second, and perhaps more fundamental, disinformation polarizes societies and distorts public debates. Executive actions, legislation, appointments, and foreign policy are all viewed through vastly different lenses, with no clear referee of facts and evidence, making the truth subjective, legitimacy questionable and accountability impossible. 


  • Third, disinformation also presents an effective vehicle for both domestic and foreign anti-democratic actors to peddle harmful narratives, further exacerbate pre-existing societal divisions, and push citizens toward undemocratic alternatives, such as authoritarian populist movements, autocratic strongmen, or even extremist organizations. 


  • Fourth, disinformation may also be a national security threat, effectively undermining states’ foreign policy goals and partnerships as well as promoting hostile adversaries.

Disinformation has become a critical and pressing challenge for democracies around the world. 

International IDEA and the Friends in Defence of Democracy will hold a webinar entitled: "Defending Democracy from Disinformation", on Friday 29 January 2021, at 1.30 – 3.00 PM (CET). This webinar will explore tangible solutions and best practices to protect democracy from disinformation, protect information integrity and build societal resilience against fake news and false facts. 


Register to this Cisco Webex Event. (Postponed)




13.30 – 13.35


Welcome remarks

Ann LindeMinister for Foreign Affairs, Sweden



13.35 – 13.45


Presentation: Building societal resilience against disinformation - which measures are most effective?

Dr Marco Aurelio RuedigerDirector of Public Policy Analysis at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, Rio de Janeiro



13.45 – 13.55


Presentation: Government responses for tackling disinformation - which policies should be considered?

Marietje SchaakeInternational Policy Director of the Cyber Policy Center, Stanford University



13.55 – 14.25


Comments and reflections 

Ministers/Deputy ministers from Friends in Defence of Democracy Member States: Georgia, Liberia, Mongolia, Portugal, Sweden, Tunisia, Uruguay.


14.25 – 14.55


Panel discussion with country representatives & experts

Moderator: Dr Kevin Casas-Zamora, Secretary-General, International IDEA



14.55 – 15.00


Closing remarks

Ann LindeMinister for Foreign Affairs, Sweden

Dr Kevin Casas-Zamora, Secretary-General, International IDEA




About The Friends in Defence of Democracy
The Friends in Defence of Democracy is a partnership between Georgia, Liberia, Mongolia, Portugal, Sweden, Tunisia and Uruguay founded upon a common concern for the challenges facing democracy, human rights and the rule of law around the world. The Friends in Defence of Democracy will collaborate with a view to manifesting their commitment to democracy and to stepping up their efforts to protect democracy, its principles, processes, institutions and defenders.