There is growing evidence that information pollution is causing actual harm, including democratic backsliding, human rights violations, social and political polarization, and resistance to public policy. This is true even in advanced digital societies with robust democratic institutions. UNDP has a diverse portfolio of information integrity programming in a range of country contexts, many of which suffer from conflict, weak governments structures, and other fragilities. The impact of information pollution in these contexts is potentially even more alarming yet is under-studied. Furthermore, as this is an emerging field, many policy and programme responses being deployed have not undergone rigorous testing, and their intended and unintended impacts still need to be fully understood.
Given its global governance mandate and portfolio, UNDP has a significant interest in bridging this gap and ensuring that the impacts of information pollution and the potential responses to it in a diversity of contexts are better understood and considered in global policy conversations on the future of the information ecosystem.
UNDP is developing strategies and working with governments to address disinformation's key drivers and enablers while protecting fundamental rights to information, freedom of expression, and civic engagement. UNDP’s information integrity programming also addresses gendered disinformation that amplifies misogyny, discrimination, and violence and often fuels backlash against gender equality.
UNDP also works to strengthen integrity in information ecosystems and address information pollution (misinformation and disinformation) through initiatives that support independent media, including community media, public broadcasters, and online media. UNDP also creates an enabling environment where free and independent media can thrive, and citizens can voice and exchange their opinions. UNDP helps foster such enabling environments by 1) supporting legal and regulatory reforms on issues such as freedom of expression, access to information, and protection of journalists; and 2) raising awareness of the importance of free and independent media.
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