Displaced Syrian girls with masks decorated by artists during a COVID-19 awareness campaign.
Displaced Syrian girls with masks decorated by artists during a COVID-19 awareness campaign. © Aaref Watad/AFP/GettyImages

IWPR's Frontline Update

15 December 2020

IWPR's Frontline Updates – unique insights from our network of local reporters and updates from our programmes.

As 2020 draws to a close, at IWPR we are grappling with a global challenge that in its way is even more grave than coronavirus. Against the loss of life and economic devastation suffered in the pandemic, the world can at least take hope from science and the emerging vaccines. Yet another “new normal” has emerged with long-term consequences potentially even more dangerous – disinformation.

IWPR is facing this challenge head-on, and we hope you will 
support us in this essential effort.

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Driven by state powers and extremist operators, and fuelled by unregulated, conflict-driving social media, disinformation spreads even more quickly than a virus. It divides societies and fuels violent radicalism, undermining democracy and faith in government. It also directly impacts public health – particularly the COVID-19 response – and other areas of public policy.

In a challenging year, I have never been more proud of IWPR’s staff, partners and beneficiaries around the world. COVID-19 has made more acute the challenges of government repression, clampdowns on women’s and minority rights, and restrictions on freedom of expression. Not only has IWPR adjusted to lockdowns, staff have found creative solutions to delivering frontline programming.

Across more than 30 countries, IWPR is combatting disinformation – building up local media and civil society, supporting and producing reliable content, and building local coalitions for change.

For a brief perspective of IWPR programming, I invite you to 
view a video from 3 of our local partners, highlighting the impact of IWPR’s work in: Lebanon, Central Asia and Nigeria. At our recent IWPR International Board meeting, IWPR board members – FT editor Gillian Tett, award-winning author George Packer, and former New York Times editor Scott Malcomson – discussed the impact of the US elections on American foreign policy. For a short summary, do watch here.

IWPR depends on donors, foundations and private supporters to help us continue to expand our counter-disinformation efforts. As a friend and supporter of IWPR, we would be so grateful for your gift to help us combat this global scourge. You can do so by 
clicking here, or with questions do not hesitate to contact me directly.

With warmest regards and best wishes for the holiday season and health to you and your family.


Anthony Borden

Anthony Borden


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Highlights of an online discussion with IWPR board members.

"One implication of the Trump regime is to make it more justifiable to give voice to sentiments which were around before, to do with a sense of being tired of having to get involved with the rest of the world."

Gillian Tett

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IWPR programme highlights from Lebanon, Central Asia and Nigeria.

"We trained imams on how to use social media to communicate with young people and try to prevent them from traveling to Syria to join ISIS."

Ilkham Umarahunov

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