#LupaElectoral: Debunking online disinformation ahead of Venezuela’s elections

#LupaElectoral: Debunking online disinformation ahead of Venezuela’s elections

Published on 26 Mar 2024

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In a context marked by the censorship of more than 500 media outlets, selective blocking of web portals, persecution of activists and journalists together with the increase of disinformation campaigns orchestrated by the State; civil society is facing an increasingly reduced civic space, finding in social networks the main source of independent information and space for digital activism.

 

The #LupaElectoral campaign arises as a response to the advance of online disinformation in the Venezuelan information ecosystem, especially in the run-up to the 2024 presidential elections. Between November 2023 and March 2024, this campaign led by ProBox united the efforts of various organizations and independent media such as RunRunes, Diario TalCual, El Pitazo, Medianálisis, Redes Ayuda and EsPaja

 

Its goal: to provide relevant information for citizens through a broader understanding of the Venezuelan digital ecosystem, the possible impact of disinformation during electoral processes and ways to combat it.

 

What the #LupaElectoral found

 

In pre-electoral Venezuela, the #LupaElectoral team managed to develop in a period of five months at least five reports, seven informative notes, 12 educational videos (four of them accompanied by civil society influencers), six audio reports, four newsletters, two workshops with activists and four online dissemination spaces open to the public; achieving complementary efforts in order to bring these findings to the greatest number and variety of audiences possible.

 

We invite you to read each one of the reports

 

1. The instant popularity of the Essequibo: On December 3, 2023, the Consultative Referendum on the Essequibo was held and, along with it, a wave of content and misinformation on the subject flooded social networks, traditional media and the streets in Venezuela.

 

2. Teachers ignored: protest continues in the middle of election year: 2024 began with protests by public workers, led by the teachers’ union, who have been demanding their labor rights for years. The increase in demonstrations was also reflected online.

 

3. The attack on the civic space prior to the Presidential elections: The persecution and detention of activists, together with legislative projects and political disqualifications, regained strength at the beginning of 2024, further enclosing the national civic space prior to one of the most important elections in the country: the Presidential elections.

 

4. Five years after the national blackout, Venezuela is still #SinLuz: The failures of basic services have intensified throughout the national territory, especially those of electricity and drinking water. In electoral times, public policies should be a matter of priority.

 

5. Misogyny advances in the shadow of social media trends: After the Venezuelan opposition Primaries and throughout the previous campaign, #LupaElectoral highlighted how women engaged in political activities and activism in Venezuela are the target of gender-based attacks and disinformation campaigns.

 

Educating from the #LupaElectoral

 

The campaign also focused on the education of unions, organized citizens and activists in the country; between ProBox and Redes Ayuda two workshops were conducted providing tools to recognize and denounce disinformation, as well as strengthen their capacities for online activism in a safe way.

 

Translating these workshops into the elaboration of specialized guides with results of each session, generating specific material for public workers and women who work in the national civic space.

 

#LupaElectoral represents a comprehensive effort to combat manipulation in social media and promote informed citizen participation in a complex and challenging electoral context. Its educational and analytical work continues to be fundamental to strengthen freedom of expression and activism in the country.

 

The report with all the results and products associated with the #LupaElectoral campaigns are available to the public.

 

For more information on these issues you can search for the hashtag #LupaElectoral in social networks or follow the official accounts of ProBox, RunRunes, El Pitazo, Tal Cual, Redes Ayuda, Medianálisis and EsPaja.

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