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Democracy and Disinformation

Hosted by the Institute of Global Affairs and the School of Public Policy and the Centre for Economic Policy R

Online public event


Chloe Colliver

Chloe Colliver


James Deane

James Deane

BBC Media Action and International Fund for Public Interest Media

Sophia Gaston

Sophia Gaston

Visiting Fellow, IGA

Delphine Halgand-Mishra

Delphine Halgand-Mishra

Executive Director, The Signals Network

Shawn Powers

Shawn Powers

Chief Strategy Officer, U.S. Agency for Global Media


Peter Pomerantsev

Peter Pomerantsev

Visiting Senior Fellow, IGA

Join the Maryam Form’s panel on disinformation as experts discuss tangible policy tools and regulations for platforms and governments, how a renewed and robust public interest media can compete with disinformation, and how “The Good Web” initiative can set a vision for a democratic online space with rights to empower citizens online.

Digital technology has fundamentally undermined previous definitions of a democratic information environment. In the 20th century democracies were defined by freedom of expression, pluralism and the metaphor of a ‘marketplace of ideas’, and authoritarian regimes by censorship and state media control. Today, however, we see authoritarians and ‘hybrid’ regimes multiplying content rather than constricting it: flooding the information space with unprecedented amounts of digitally powered disinformation, and undermining critics with cyber militias and online mobs. Meanwhile inside democracies pluralism is tipping into polarisation so extreme it breaks down the possibility for deliberative debate.

The principles underpinning a democratic information environment need to be reimagined for the digital age. What sort of oversight and control do we need over algorithms and the design of online platforms? How can we reinvent media to overcome polarisation? Can democracies build coalitions to withstand the authoritarian threat?

Chloe Colliver (@ChloeColliver2) is Head of Digital Policy and Strategy at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), leading a global team of analysts studying disinformation and extremism online. She has led programmes of work detecting and responding to online manipulation targeting the German, European Parliamentary, UK, Swedish and US Elections.

James Deane (@JamesMDeane) is Director of Policy and Research at BBC Media Action, the BBC’s international media support charity. He is also currently developing the feasibility of an International Fund for Public Interest Media. He has more than 30 years of experience in support to independent media around the world, including being a founding member and executive director of the Panos Institute, London. 

Sophia Gaston (@sophgaston) is the Director of the British Foreign Policy Group, and a social and political researcher specialising in public opinion. Her research particularly explores threats to governance in advanced liberal democracies, including – populism, nationalism, cultural insecurity, nostalgia and the rise of anti-establishment movements. Sophia is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Global Affairs at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an Academic Fellow at the European Policy Centre in Brussels. 

Delphine Halgand-Mishra (@DelphineHalgand) is the Executive Director of The Signals Network, a non-profit organization which supports whistleblowers who have shared major public interest information with the press. She previously served for six years as Reporters Without Borders’ North America Director, advocating for journalists, bloggers, and media rights worldwide. She was the Lead Rapporteur for the Forum on Information and Democracy’s Policy Framework report.

Peter Pomerantsev (@peterpomeranzev) is an author and TV producer. He currently serves as Visiting Senior Fellow at the Institute of Global Affairs and Co-Director of the Arena disinformation think tank at LSE. He is also a Senior Fellow at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University. He specialises on propaganda and media development.

Shawn Powers (@shawnpowers) serves as the U.S. Agency for Global Media’s (USAGM) Chief Strategy Officer, leading its international engagement, strategic planning, strategic initiatives, and partnerships with key stakeholders. He has a Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC) and more than a decade of experience working at the nexus of media, technology, and international relations. Previously Powers served as Executive Director of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy and an Associate Professor at Georgia State University. He published the award-winning The Real Cyber War: A Political Economy of Internet Freedom (The University of Illinois Press, 2015) and has over 40 publications in academic and mainstream outlets, including the Washington Post, Guardian, and Huffington Post.

Ben Grazda is the Student Lead for the Maryam’s Forum’s Co-Lab on Democracy and Disinformation. He is pursuing an MSc in Conflict Studies in the LSE’s Department of Government. Before LSE, he worked for three years in the US Senate and spent the last four years working for humanitarian organizations in Kenya, Nigeria, Iraq, and Syria.

This session is part of the LSE Conference on “One Year On: Lessons Learnt and ‘New Normals’ in a Post-COVID World “hosted  under the LSE Maryam Forum. Click here to view all conference sessions.

The LSE Maryam Forum is a multi-year programme aimed at accelerating the kind of leadership the world needs urgently. A product of the LSE Institute of Global Affairs (IGA) and the School of Public Policy (SPP), it has been conceived as a collaboration between policy makers, students, academic researchers, business leaders and media. Driven by deep engagement with faculty and students, the Maryam Forum builds on LSE and IGA’s strong track record in research, policy engagement and capacity building. 

The Institute of Global Affairs (@LSEIGA) at the LSE School of Public Policy aims to maximise the impact of LSE's leading expertise across the social sciences by shaping inclusive and locally-rooted responses to the most important and pressing global challenges.

The School of Public Policy (@LSEPublicPolicy) is an international community where ideas and practice meet. Our approach creates professionals with the ability to analyse, understand and resolve the challenges of contemporary governance.

The Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) (@cepr_org) is a network of over 1500 Research Fellows and Affiliates, based primarily in European universities. The Centre coordinates the research activities of its Fellows and Affiliates and communicates the results to the public and private sectors. CEPR is an entrepreneur, developing research initiatives with the producers, consumers and sponsors of research. Established in 1983, CEPR is a European economics research organisation with uniquely wide-ranging scope and activities. The Centre is pluralist and non-partisan, bringing economic research to bear on the analysis of medium- and long-run policy questions.

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