Protecting the Electoral Process in the Information Environment in Fiji
A key driver of the loss of public confidence in electoral processes are malign influencing practices in the information environment around elections. Political contestants or domestic or foreign malign actors may put forth misleading narratives targeting electoral institutions and/or election officials.
On 4 and 5 December 2023, International IDEA organized a mapping workshop entitled ‘Protecting Electoral Processes in the Information Environment’. The event in Suva provided an opportunity for participants from the Fijian Elections Office, Electoral Commission of Fiji, Fiji Media Association, Online Safety Commission of Fiji, Fiji Media Council, Pacific Center for Peace Building, FemLink Pacific, and the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum to exchange ideas and perspectives among different stakeholders.
Topics of discussion included the information environment-related risk factors, real and perceived threats to elections, observations regarding problematic practices and actors, and any protective infrastructure already in place and its effectiveness. These discussions were informed and compared with emerging global trends and best practices. The main output of the workshop includes a mapping report that will inform the development of a roadmap.
Source: International IDEA, ‘Framework on Protecting Electoral Processes in the Information Environment’, 2023.
The mapping workshop represents the first of a series of three workshops that will take place in Fiji in 2023-2024. The methodology builds on an activity-based, ‘inquiry learning’ approach similar to the methods used in the BRIDGE curriculum and the International IDEA context overview workshops on electoral risk management. The next workshop is envisioned for March 2024 and will focus on the development of a roadmap that will include project-related advocacy plans and strategies.
The overall project aims to improve the protection of electoral processes by countering malign influencing practices and learning from evolving discourse and engagement in six different focus countries. Informed by global best practices and exchanges between partner countries, the project will enable national actors in focus countries to identify suggestions for the way forward, work towards implementing suggestions, and share lessons learned with global audiences. The project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and implemented by International IDEA.