Faktograf and IPI have launched an online guide to give journalists, fact-checkers and researchers a handy framework to investigate disinformation and smear campaigns targeting media professionals on the frontlines of exposing disinformation.

The Guide to Decoding Disinformation offers a step-by-step approach to identifying the tactics, techniques and procedures behind disinformation campaigns, increasingly used to silence critical reporting and erode public trust in fact-based news. The guide aims to help journalists and fact-checkers preserve the integrity of their work.

“As new technologies emerge, the disinformation playbook used by bad actors still relies on common tactics and narratives,” Tajana Broz, program manager at Croatian fact-checking website Faktograf, said. “These guidelines aim to support journalists in finding the best ways to investigate them.”

Javier Luque, head of digital communications at IPI, said: “These guidelines are not one-size-fits-all as disinformation keeps evolving with new technologies. However, this guide is a starting point to identify the main components of disinformation campaigns targeting journalists and their credibility.”

Key steps outlined in the guide:

  1. Understand the context. Evaluate broader strategies, relevant events, political and social contexts and the media outlets involved.
  2. Analyze the timeline, platforms and dissemination methods. Develop a comprehensive timeline of the attack, identify platforms and vectors used and document the spread of disinformation.
  3. Identify the actors involved. Identify and describe influential actors and fringe media supporting the disinformation narrative.
  4. Pinpoint the narratives. Fact-check claims, analyze content and track false narratives to understand the purpose behind the campaign.

The Guide to Decoding Disinformation is free to access online. As a dynamic resource, it will be regularly updated to incorporate new research and technological advancements.


Related links:

The “Guide to Decoding Disinformation” is part of the Decoding the disinformation Playbook of Populism in Europe initiative, supported by the European Media and Information Fund managed by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.


The sole responsibility for any content supported by the European Media and Information Fund lies with the author(s) and content may not necessarily reflect the positions of the EMIF and the Fund Partners, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the European University Institute.