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Disinformation in Democratic Elections: U.S. and Philippine Alliance Opportunity

Issues & Insights Vol. 23, SR11, pp. 35-42

Abstract

The United States and the Philippines must forge the first bilateral anti-disinformation program to improve election integrity and apply best practices to other struggling democratic nations. The United States and the Philippines are ideal partners for studying the viability of anti-disinformation policies because of their mutual principles of multiculturalism and the varied malign influence campaigns they face from foreign and domestic actors. Addressing disinformation would showcase commitment to a strategic partnership that includes unconventional national security issues.
Three proposed options provide creative frameworks for leveraging such an alliance based on a mutual national security threat and equal participation levels by the two nations. First, the U.S. Department of State should forge its inaugural anti- disinformation partnership with a foreign country – the Philippines. The program would evolve into a repeatable model within the Indo-Pacific and beyond. Second, the U.S. and Philippine governments and non-government organizations (NGOs) should initiate a matching program with equivalent counterparts for media, social media, and public affairs organizations in their respective country. Third, it is prudent to establish a foundational and universal framework to monitor disinformation threat levels, whether positive or negative, within a democratic election cycle to better focus country resources. The United States and the Philippines both need improvement to mitigate election disinformation, making them ideal models to establish a universal standard in the degree that falsehoods permeate democratic election outcomes.

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About this Volume

Authors of this volume participated in the second U.S.-Philippines Next-Generation Leaders in Security Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, through the U.S. Embassy Manila. With backgrounds in academia, public policy, civil society and industry, the cohort brings rich insights on the past, present, and future of the U.S.-Philippine relationship.

The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective organizations and affiliations. Pacific Forum’s publications do not necessarily reflect the positions of its staff, donors and sponsors.


Brynn Park (Koeppen) is an analyst at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM). Previously, Park served as Editor-in-Chief and first employee of WashingtonExec, an organization that facilitates public-private partnerships. She received her M.A. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and her B.A. from The College of William and Mary.


Photo: A graph showing the two leading presidential candidates during the 2022 Philippine elections as top recipients of disinformation campaigns. Source: Tsek.ph, a collaborative fact-checking project established by Filipino academics, media and civil society for the 2022 elections.