Left to right: Judge of the Electoral Tribunal of Panama, Alfredo Juncá; Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Region of International IDEA, Dr Daniel Zovatto; Chair of the CNE, Santiago Corcuera; Secretary for Judicial Action of the CNE, Hernán Gonçalves Figueiredo.
The "Workshop for Exchange of Experiences on Network Information Monitoring" was held in the National Electoral Court of Argentina (CNE), with the collaboration of the Electoral Tribunal of Panama on 18 and 19 June 2019.
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The workshop included the participation of the top authorities from the National Electoral Court, the president, Dr Santiago Corcuera, and the vice-president, Dr Alberto Dalla Via, and the guests from the Electoral Tribunal of Panama, Judge Alfredo Juncá, and the Chief of the Digital Media Unit, Francisco Morales. The cooperation was possible, thanks to the participation of International IDEA through its regional director, Daniel Zovatto.
The workshop made it possible to address crucial issues for the current electoral processes in the region, such as monitoring social networks, campaign expenditures in the digital milieu, and the propagation of fake news or disinformation. The workshop also made it possible to analyze the types of monitoring, the processes, and tools available, digital marketing in the handling of campaigns in social networks, and strategies for attacking disinformation.
In this context the experience acquired by the Electoral Tribunal of Panama during the last presidential campaign (leading up to elections held 5 May) turned out to be of great interest as a result of the establishment and use of a Digital Media Unit, which made it possible to monitor the digital environment and the world of the social networks in search of breaches of election laws, as well as potential cases of false news or electoral disinformation.
The exchange and collaboration were highly useful for the National Electoral Court in view of the elections coming up in August and October of this year. The Court is organizing an effort to monitor digital networks and environments, which is in addition to the oversight tools used in previous elections. The monitoring by the National Electoral Court is geared to attaining different objectives: detecting the paid activities of election campaigns; detecting conversations that refer to matters related to the electoral process and which may disinform the citizens; reviewing the information declared by the political groupings; and organizing the content of the messages and campaigns for raising awareness that the CNE may disseminate through its social network accounts.
This activity took place in the context of the strategy of International IDEA’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, which seeks to build bridges and generate synergies between the electoral institutions of the region in relation to social networks, fake news, and disinformation, and their impact on electoral integrity and the quality of democracy, making possible mutual learning based on the experiences and installed capacities of the different institutions.