Reinforcing democracy: Preventing and combating misinformation and disinformation

How we are tackling one of the biggest threats to democracy


  • Misinformation: false or inaccurate information not disseminated with the intention of deceiving the public
  • Disinformation: false, inaccurate, or misleading information deliberately created, presented and disseminated to deceive the public

The real dangers of mis- and disinformation

  • It can fuel declining public trust in institutions and disenchantment with democratic processes
  • It can distort a country's domestic policies and election systems
  • It can undermine efforts to protect public health, national interests and national security
  • It can undermine government's ability to implement policies

The problem is global:

  • All countries are vulnerable to sophisticated and dangerous disinformation
  • "Industrialised disinformation" involving a multitude of actors – domestic, international, state, non-state, private firms, and digital intermediaries - is growing rapidly

How is OECD responding to help governments?

  • The threats posed calls for both preventive and reactive strategies while protecting freedom of expression and enhancing the crucial roles of media/civil society in the fight against mis- and disinformation.
  • Through our initiative on "Reinforcing Democracy", the OECD is actively engaged in exploring key trends and supporting members in developing potential responses, including the following key areas:

    • Understanding disinformation campaigns;
    • Designing regulatory and non-regulatory measures;
    • Fostering integrity and transparency in lobbying;
    • Enhancing the ability of the public communication function to identify, prevent and respond to harmful content;
    • Protecting independent media and civic space;
    • Promoting civic and media responses, such as media literacy, that build a more resilient information ecosystem.

Only a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder and whole of government approach will help curb the threats posed by mis- and disinformation, and help build resilience and protect media and information ecosystems.



Mathias Cormann, Secretary-General, OECD,  speaking at UNGA “Summit for Information and Democracy” session "Misinformation and freedom of information on social media – How can democracies respond to infodemics?"  24 September 2021