The overall objective of this project, funded by the European Commission's Foreign Policy Instrument, is two-fold. First, this will contribute to a thorough understanding of the interlinked challenges of disinformation and terrorism/extremism within and outside of the EU. Second, this will support the development of capacities to address this challenge. Violent extremists and terrorist organisations have used disinformation to spin the Covid-19 pandemic and other global events in their own favour. While this is problematic, it also presents an opportunity: equipping at-risk populations with the tools to identify and challenge disinformation can also bolster their resilience against terrorist and extremist narratives that drive recruitment and radicalisation.
The specific objective of this project is to prepare a global Guidance Document to promote the resilience of at-risk populations against terrorists spreading disinformation. This will provide the necessary expertise and tools to:
- Examine the scale and multidimensional nature, the impact of, and the ways to address interlinked challenges of disinformation and terrorism, both within the EU and in regions of strategic importance for the EU;
- Identify and address gaps in the EU's analytical/ methodological work in the area of strategic communications, as specifically relevant to the disinformation-terrorism connection;
- Increase disinformation awareness among EU staff and partners in the EEAS, Global Coalition against Daesh Strategic Communications Cell, and other relevant actors.
About the project
ICCT will be responsible for organising a consultation process with key stakeholders and actors with whom draft guidance will be developed. This will involve carrying out interviews, engaging with EU entities and other relevant regional counterparts to, where possible, compile approaches and harmonize perspectives, then draft a guidance paper. There should be a mid-term alignment workshop to promote active interaction and exchange. ICCT will also organise an inter-service presentation to allow concerned desks, policy officers and project managers to familiarise themselves with the findings of the guidance and the use of the accompanying methodological tools.
ICCT has already conducted extensive research into strategic communications and disinformation in the Western Balkans and Southern Caucasus', around the Lake Chad Basin, in Iraq. Practices and areas for improvement will be compiled into a Global Guidance Document. The project's M&E component will measure the impact and implementation of this project, so as to develop knowledge on effective strategic communications interventions and evidence-based policymaking.