Improving and Expanding Our Responses to a New Policy Landscape that Threatens to Undermine the Global Missions and Oper
In the political environment that emerged after the 2016 Presidential election, civil society organizations (CSOs) report increasing concerns and alarming impacts relating to the dissemination of false information across media platforms. For some organizations, this creates a programming issue when previously accepted facts around climate change, vaccines or women’s health are discounted or dismissed as “fake news.” For other organizations, existential issues arise when their reputation or security come under attack due to their areas of operation, their opposition to federal policy, or when their religious affiliation make them the target of negative media campaigns. These campaigns have resulted in death threats against U.S.-based NGOs, and verbal attacks on the work they do here in the United States and abroad. (Nearly one-third of InterAction member NGO programs focus on domestic issues.) InterAction wishes to equip U.S.-based CSOs that do not know how to confront disinformation campaigns with a set of tools specifically calibrated to their use capacity. InterAction is the oldest and largest association of internationally oriented American non-profits, with more than 220 member and partner organizations across a spectrum of sizes, locations and missions. We are ideally situated to identify the specific needs of this community, draw lessons from across our membership, and craft tools and tactics for use by these organizations. We know from our members and partners that this challenge crosses internationally focused secular and faith-based organizations with local offices or staff throughout the United States. We also believe that the current administration’s isolationist and anti-terror policy positions will likely exacerbate the challenge over the coming years. To address the challenge, InterAction proposes to research, design, produce, and disseminate a tool kit for internationally oriented CSOs to respond to disinformation and specialized media attacks. At the end of a six-month window, this tool kit would include: • Access via online and in print. • Lessons drawn from U.S. civil society organizations that have experience pushing back against disinformation. Among our membership this includes international civil rights and transparency groups and feminist organizations. Outside our membership, this includes U.S. civil liberties organizations. • Language tailored to organizations that are not familiar with confrontational media, and • Sample texts, plans, and other tactical resources.
- United States
- Human Rights Democracy and Governance