Coordination and Partnership Approaches

No single entity can resolve the myriad of information integrity challenges present in an election, and certainly not an EMB alone. There are a wide variety of organizations whose work is related to the health of the information landscape and a growing community of actors who are actively working to defend information integrity.

An effective programme of work requires a multi-stakeholder approach and the ability to creatively craft solutions. There are choices and actions that can be taken by the various actors in an election process, including: citizens, civil society, State authorities, private sector platforms, traditional media and perhaps most importantly, political figures. Together, they can build a strong information ecosystem to aid peaceful and credible elections. Coordination and partnerships are critical to the effectiveness of collective efforts. While, as of yet, there are few proven models that have been deployed at a country level, general principles and approaches can aid in this goal of collaborative success.



Supporting the in-country design of coordination structures and the establishment of partnerships can have an outsized impact upon the capabilities of actors working to defend information integrity. These may be election-specific, however they are likely best designed within a broader framework of longitudinal concerns. The coordination structure’s design will depend on the specific environment and the types of organizations in the field. Also, the existing, broader coordination mechanisms in place may guide appropriate practice.

There are a number of goals that can be worked towards:

  • Joint advocacy – The ability for individual entities to influence the actions of key actors, such as platforms, government bodies or political parties may be limited; however, working in concert, they may be more successful in advocating for common positions.
  • Collaboration – Providing the opportunity for actors to find ways to actively work together towards common goals and projects.
  • Protection – In some circumstances, there are protection concerns for actors working in the information integrity space, for example in areas where armed groups are also purveyors of information pollution. Coordination structures can be designed to try to insulate the more vulnerable members of the community.
  • Information sharing – Creating communities able to share information and data that are of common concern should further the collective efforts. These may take various forms, for example incident reporting, narrative research, data sets such as hate speech lexicographers, or content moderation streams. Furthermore, such relations may lead to common data standards, alongside supportive feedback.

There are several concerns, however, and risks that need to be mitigated. One of the mitigation options and means for more effective collaboration is to have different, potentially overlapping, groupings, depending on the goal, be they:

  • Event-driven (i.e. around the conduct of the election, long-term activity, hate speech-focused, etc.)
  • Substantive (i.e. fact-checking communities, research collaborations, etc.)
  • Organizational (i.e. the inclusion or exclusion of types of organizations i.e. governmental, platforms, etc.)

Social media councils

A particular structure of coordination that has been proposed in a number of fora are social media councils. They describe a body that provides multi-stakeholder grouping to provide oversight of content-moderation decisions on social media. They would act to provide accountability and promote the application of international human rights standards, using voluntary compliance approaches.


Who is best placed to implement the activity? 

In many cases, these groupings may form organically; in other cases, it may take a coordination figure to organize them. If an organizer is required, it would typically be one that is seen as neutral and trusted by various actors.


How to ensure context specificity and sensitivity? 

The design and management of appropriate coordination structures will vary between contexts. A key consideration should be to ensure diversity in participation, both with regards to the types of information integrity actors, but also the political and social elements of the country-context.


How to involve youth?  

Youth organizations or youth-led organizations are likely to play an outsized role in this area given that they are more likely to be involved in the technology-work.


How to ensure gender sensitivity/inclusive programming?  

Once again, appropriate inclusion within the bodies is important. However, steering the work of the collective to consider gender-related priorities also is.


How to communicate about these activities?  

In the first instance, it is wise to ensure participants are comfortable with their work undergoing external communication. However, much of the work may benefit from public communication and the pressure that this introduces, especially advocacy tasks.





  • Participation – As with many coordination structures, the management of participation/membership can be sensitive. In this instance, how and where governments or platforms are appropriate is a particular question. This also concerns proxy organizations.
  • Influence – There are limits to the ability for practitioners to truly influence powerful actors, even when working together.
  • Data concerns – While the sharing of data can be extremely useful, there may be various considerations around ownership, legality and context that require consideration.
  • Ownership – An understandable interest will be for organizations to also maintain and develop their own unique identity and approach. Also, given the nascent state of the field, cultivating a diversity of organizations is important. Coordination efforts may wish to consider these interests.
  • Capture – There have been some concerns raised about the potential for coordination councils to be captured by interests and purposed for partisan goals.


Social Media Councils: From Concept to Reality

Stanford’s Global Digital Policy Incubator (GDPi) , ARTICLE 19, and David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, convened an international working meeting to discuss a solution to address the challenges posed by online content moderation: the creation of multistakeholder, social media councils (SMCs). Our report, “Social Media Councils: From Concept to Reality,” explores the outcomes of this meeting and discusses the next steps for social media councils.


Indonesia, CekFakta

In Indonesia, during the 2018–2019 elections, nonprofit-led initiatives included MAFINDO’s operation of a fact-checking ‘Hoax Crisis Center’ to debunk social media hoaxes. In 2019, MAFINDO and 24 news organizations similarly operated with funding from Google News to correct hoaxes and false candidate statements. These partners also developed fact-checking tools for public use, including a phone application that gave provincial government offices the opportunity to correct false stories in real-time, as users reported them. (Fanny Potkin and Agustinus Beo de Costa, “Fact-checkers vs. hoax peddlers: a fake news battle ahead of Indonesia’s election,” Reuters, August 10, 2019).

Georgia, No to Phobia!

The civil society platform No to Phobia! was established by 13 non-governmental organizations on 7 May 2014 to enable a close cooperation of non-governmental organizations towards eliminating expressions of all forms of discrimination and hate speech in Georgian politics and media. The platform has the following goals:

  • React to hate speech by means of joint statements, declarations and other relevant mechanisms.
  • Support existing political entities in eradicating all forms of discrimination and to establish inner-party mechanisms with this goal in mind.
  • Improve media literacy.
  • Raise public awareness on the issues of non-tolerance and hate speech.

UNESCO, Social Media 4 Peace 

The overall objective of the Social Media 4 Peace UNESCO project funded by the European Commission Foreign Policy Instrument is to strengthen the resilience of societies to potentially harmful content spread online, in particular hate speech inciting violence while protecting freedom of expression and enhancing the promotion of peace through digital technologies, notably social media. The project covers 4 pilot countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Columbia, Indonesia and Kenya and aims, amongst other objectives to:

  • Establish a national multi-stakeholder platform to define gaps between realities of the phenomenon and measures taken by various stakeholders to tackle harmful online content (i.e., sufficiently efficient or over-restrictive, compliant with international human rights standards).
  • Increase the capacities of stakeholders (authorities, judicial operators, social media companies, and CSOs in relation to harmful content) to improve content moderation practices

South Africa, Real411

In South Africa, Real411 provides a platform for the public to report digital harms including disinformation. This ensures that online content is assessed and addressed in an independent, open, transparent and accountable manner within our laws and constitutional rights. Special attention is given to topics such as COVID-19 and during Election periods to complaints about elections.

Real411 is a platform developed and maintained by Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) in partnership with a range of key stakeholders which currently include, SANEF and the Press Council and the IABSA. According to their website, the aim is to add additional key stakeholders, including Chapter 9 bodies, Government, and social media platforms.

Brazil, the Electoral Justice Permanent Program on Countering Disinformation

In Brazil, The Electoral Justice Permanent Program on Countering Disinformation represents the continuity and improvement of the efforts of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) to reduce the harmful effects of disinformation  towards the Electoral Court and its members, the electronic voting system, the electoral process in its different phases and the participants involved. Thereby, disinformation content aimed at pre-candidates, candidates, political parties, coalitions and federations is excluded from its scope, except when the information conveyed has the ability to negatively affect the integrity, credibility and legitimacy of the electoral process.

The creation of the Program was meant to be systemic, multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral. A “network” model of organization and operation was chosen, based on the involvement of the Electoral Justice bodies and the formation of strategic partnerships with multiple participants. Activities included a course on disinformation in the form of 30 tweets and an alert system whereby citizens could report on Violence Against Women in Elections as well as Disinformation.





Information Integrity E-learning

Coming soon