Caution, manipulated! A Guide for Communication Managers from MPs’ Offices, Ministries and Authorities

Project: Projekt AHEAD

Authors: Mauritius Dorn, Solveig Barth

Published: 19 December 2023

This guide was developed as part of the AHEAD project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. ISD Germany is solely responsible for the content. As an information and dialogue series, the project contributes to building an integrated understanding of the vector topics of disinformation. This includes the topics of “global health”, “migration”, “gender equality” and “climate change” as well as the interfaces with related methods of extremist movements and authoritarian states. In addition, the project supports the strengthening of the strategic-communicative capacity of politics to act in order to get ahead of the curve of hybrid democratic dangers. The project is being implemented as a pilot and will be scaled up in the future.

The extent of disinformation has increased significantly in recent years. Against this backdrop, this guide provides those responsible for communication in MPs’ offices, ministries and authorities with a low-threshold introduction to the strategic and communicative handling of information manipulation. In contrast to disinformation, information manipulation also includes other manipulative activities such as the dissemination of propagandistic content or the establishment of bot networks. The guidelines are based in part on scientific findings and in part on normative assumptions and empirical values within the scope of the project work.

Central topics of the guideline:

  • Safe use of relevant terms such as “information manipulation”
  • Assistance in defining the limits of one’s own room for manoeuvre
  • Recognising information manipulation, including setting up a monitoring environment
  • Evaluation of monitoring findings and recommendations for StratCom measures
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