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Countering Disinformation through Democracy and Governance Programming: Protecting the Integrity of Political and Electoral Information and Discourse  


Effective democracies require that citizens have access to accurate and impartial electoral and political information. Disinformation campaigns spread cynicism, distort political processes and hinder citizens’ ability to make sound political decisions. Although the problem of disinformation is increasingly global in scope, most research to date has focused on examining foreign and domestic campaigns in Europe and Eurasia, as have many recent high-profile responses designed to counter the impact of disinformation. The democracy and governance community needs a better comparative understanding of how disinformation impacts a wider range of political systems and societies, a better overall understanding of existing programmatic responses to disinformation threats, and a typology to begin understanding the effectiveness of such responses.


To address these questions, CEPPS will:

  • Develop an analytical framework to evaluate the effectiveness of existing efforts to combat the spread of dis- information. This framework will draw on a cross-disciplinary literature review from a number of fields, including political science, behavioral psychology, strategic studies, and education for democratic citizenship.
  • Conduct comparative research, including three in-depth country case studies, to examine and evaluate programmatic responses to disinformation. This will include collecting and conducting an inclusive, gender- aware analysis of data provided from a range of sources. These would include a review of political parties and political campaign leaders, EMBs, judicial and legal representatives, citizen election observer groups, independent media partners, representatives of marginalized and vulnerable communities, the international donor and assistance community, and democracy advocacy organizations seeking to track and address disinformation trends and behaviors in their countries.
  • Create an interactive guidebook exploring different aspects of programs to counter disinformation and promote information integrity in political systems.


  • What programs and interventions to counter disinformation have been implemented in specific countries of interest to the democracy and governance community? How have programs and interventions been incorporated into larger democracy and governance strategies?
  • How have these programs succeeded or failed in counter- ing disinformation and promoting information integrity in political systems and societies? And what are the contributing factors to these programs’ success or failure?
  • How can USAID, its partners and civil society learn from comparative experience to design programs that better promote information integrity in political systems and counter disinformation?


The analytical framework, literature review, case studies and guidebook will all be used to help inform programming throughout the democracy and governance community to counter disinformation in political systems and societies worldwide.

Find the Countering Disinformation Guide here.

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Global EPT Leader Cooperative Agreement No. AID-OAA-L-15-00007.
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