Peter Cunliffe-Jones discusses false news laws at the Africa Facts Summit 2022
On the 10th November 2022, Peter Cunliffe-Jones presented work on false news laws at the Africa Facts Summit held in Nairobi, Kenya. Cunliffe-Jones’ talk formed part of a two day event that sought to examine how widespread mis- and disinformation has become a global problem, and how it is increasingly challenging how we share and use the information and perceive the world. Noting that fact-checking as a practice is a powerful defence against this threat by helping stem the circulation of unverified or misleading information and raises the public’s awareness of how to identify such false information and stop its spread, the event aimed to build and strengthen this community and the practice of fact-checking.
Cunliffe-Jones’ talk built upon Bad Law – Legal and Regulatory Responses to Misinformation in Sub-Saharan Africa 2016–2020, published by University of Westminster Press. In his provocative address, Cunliffe-Jones suggested that if laws against ‘false news’ were the solution, there would be no misinformation problem in India, Russia, Brazil or across much of Africa. And that if regulation of the Internet were enough, the EU would have ended the harm done by misinformation. He then went on to note that neither solution works because they fail to take account what Information Disorder is, before providing a different approach that encourages accuracy in public debate, and public access to information.