News

April 12, 2018

Disinform, amplify and intimidate: attacking press freedom online

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is investigating and analyzing the way press freedom’s predators have managed to adapt their traditional and authoritarian practices to new technology. Bots, fake accounts, email bombing…which methods are being used by these regimes online?

Narendra Modi, Vladimir Putin, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Xi Jinping – all of these press freedom predators have understood the advantages to be gained from amplifying their propaganda and discrediting journalism on social networks, leading to new forms of censorship.


RSF has devised an infographic that analyses the step-by-step strategy and the human and technical resources that are deployed to this end.


Disinformation campaigns are amplified by the troll armies created by these authoritarian regimes. They are often helped by unscrupulous companies that sell them fake accounts and bots – programmes that automatically circulate content on social networks.


Once the propaganda messages have been widely disseminated – which has the effect of drowning out reliable journalist content – the troll armies unleash cyber-attacks against independent websites and the personal accounts of independent journalists in order to discredit and silence them.