Countering State-Based COVID-19 Public Health Disinformation:
Remote Training for Journalists and Media
Invitation and Overview
Description: As disinformation around public health issues has become more prevalent, journalists and media professionals must navigate a complex information environment to report effectively about public health crises like COVID-19. In this remote training, CRDF Global, on behalf of the U.S. Department of State, will provide journalist stakeholders with the skills and strategies to properly identify and counter disinformation around health security issues. A combination of pre-recorded training modules and live webinars will equip participants with tools to understand state-based narratives, identify disinformation campaigns and its sources, know where to find credible sources, and understand the methods used to assess and counter disinformation.
Audience: Journalists covering public health, investigative journalists, and media organizations from the countries listed below are cordially invited to participate in this free-of-charge training. Regrettably, CRDF Global cannot invite participants from countries that are not listed below.
• Eastern Europe: Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Bulgaria, Moldova;
• Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan;
• South/Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, India;
• Middle East/North Africa: Egypt, Jordan, Algeria;
• Sub-Saharan Africa: Ethiopia.
Trainers and Partner Organizations: This training is funded by the U.S. Department of State and organized by CRDF Global, which is proud to partner with leading international experts in public health, disinformation, and investigative journalism including:
• The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Laboratory (DFRL)
• International Center for Journalists (ICFJ)
• Regional Press Development Institute (RPDI)
• Dr. Julie Fischer, Senior Technical Advisor for Global Health, CRDF Global
• Dr. Lora Pitman, Associate Adjunct Professor, Old Dominion University
Training Structure and Participant Expectations: This event is off-the-record. Information is meant only for the education of journalists/participants. This training will comprise both pre-recorded modules and live webinars. Modules and webinar sessions will be translated and interpreted into at least three languages, including Russian, Arabic, and Bahasa Indonesia. Recorded training modules will be made available to registered participants prior to the live webinar sessions, during which participants will interact with experts, pose questions during a question-and-answer session, and build an international network of journalists prepared to identify and respond to public health disinformation. While this training is free-ofcharge, interested participants will be required to register in advance of the training through a secure link. Participants are expected to complete the 7-9 pre-recorded modules and attend one of the two live sessions. The pre-recorded modules are approximately 15-30 minutes each, and the live webinars will run approximately 2.5 hours.
Registration Link: Disinformation Training Registration
Timeline and Dates: The trainings are free-of-charge and the deadline for registration is February 2, 2021. CRDF Global and its partners will make recorded training modules available no later than February 11, 2021. The two live webinars will take place 1) on February 23 for Eastern Europe and Central Asia and 2) on February 25 for South/Southeast Asia, Middle East/North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Objectives: This remote training will equip stakeholders with tools to:
• Understand state-based disinformation narratives and how they are amplified through the media (specifically public health/COVID-19 disinformation types)
• Identify disinformation, its source, and its funders
• Identify credible sources
• Apply strategies to differentiate between disinformation and misinformation
• Develop international working relationships among journalists/media organizations and credible sources to combat the spread of disinformation
Recorded Modules: CRDF Global will offer pre-recorded training modules in the following topics:
• Case studies and analysis of public health disinformation in the media
• Journalism best practices: identifying credible vs. non-credible sources of information
• Disinformation risks for journalists and the media: understanding the risk and how disinformation is amplified through the media
• The science of COVID-19: Transmission and public health best practices
• COVID-19 response in the near term: Interventions, vaccine development, and the risk of erosion of public trust. (***)