Protection Risk: Disinformation and Denial of Access to Information

This protection risk refers to all situations when information is used or denied with the consequence of causing harm to the population. Disinformation takes place when false information and statements are disseminated intentionally to cause serious social harm. Disinformation misleads the population and, as a side effect, interferes with the public’s right to know and the right of individuals to seek, receive, and impart information. The denial of access to information manifests in all situations where the freedom to 'receive and impart' information is impaired in such a manner and to such a degree that it hinders the capacity of the population to enjoy basic rights and fulfil basic needs. Harmful acts, measures and tactics on the use or denial of information may be driven by means of polarization – an intended act of dividing people or opinions in opposing groups – or on the basis of social constructs – concepts or believes based on views of a society (gender, age, disability, sexuality, race, political, philosophical and religious) –. With the current proliferation of social media, this protection risk can manifest in the digital sphere or spread through a combination of both online and offline mechanisms.