Disinformation Asia is the initiative of the Digital Forensic Lab (DFL), established as one of the pioneer civil society owned labs in South Asia. This is a project of Innovation for Change – South Asia Hub and managed by Bytes for All, Pakistan (B4A). The idea of the lab was conceived in a co-design workshop conducted by the Innovation For Change (I4C) Network in 2018. The DFL has been established to respond to the emerging challenges vis-à-vis protection and promotion of freedom of expression and right to information, free from any internal or external influences and biases.
As the region of South Asia is mired by civic space challenges, the I4C South Asia Hub works to address shrinking civic space. Through the DFL, the I4C South Asia Hub aims to research, identify, and build the capacity of civil society organizations across the South Asian countries in countering growing disinformation campaigns. The DFL’s core objective is to increase awareness and understanding of complex disinformation operations, and to help civil society in South Asia to develop skills in countering disinformation and manipulative propaganda.
The I4C South Asia Hub is one of the seven regional hubs of the I4C network; which is a global network of people and organizations who connect, partner, and learn together to defend and strengthen civic space and overcome restrictions to our fundamental freedoms of assembly, association, and expression.
The DFL’s managing body, B4A is a not-for-profit organization – registered under The Trust Act 1882 -with the focus on human rights and ICT technologies. B4A’s core areas of research and policy advocacy includes digital rights, freedom of expression, right to privacy, peaceful assemblies and of association. Besides its scope of work in Pakistan, B4A has also been involved in multiple initiatives across Asia and globally, including research and advocacy on different human rights themes and civil liberties.
The DFL regularly tracks regional disinformation campaigns, fake news, and subversive attempts against democracy across all social media platforms. The lab identifies the trends and threats originating from disinformation networks using open-source intelligence techniques that uncovers organized inauthentic behaviors, network strategies and actors while building the capacity of civil society to identify and expose attempts to pollute the informational ecosystem.