16 March 2024, SABC News,

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) says misinformation and disinformation are not only a threat to democracy but also to the sustainability of credible news media.

The media watchdog says there is growing concern about the ability of disinformation to influence the outcome of elections.

As South Africans head to the polls on May 29th, the Electoral Commission has partnered with social media giants such as Google, Meta and TikTok, and non-profit media organisations to curb the manipulation of information.

Media Monitoring Africa’s director William Bird explains, “Mis/disinformation spreads where there is a big communication gap. We know that for example during COVID-19 we saw it spreading very easily. And where tensions are high and where people are anxious which is, of course, what you will get in the lead-up to any election which is why mis/ disinformation spreads in South Africa. The high levels of inequality and the fact that there is tension almost always in South Africa means that we are one of the fertile grounds for mis/disinformation.”

Read full article