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Call to report local government election digital disinformation
​The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is making available an innovative online reporting platform for citizens to report instances of alleged digital disinformation ahead of the 2021 municipal elections.

The digital platform is intended for complaints related only to social media and is not intended to replace existing channels and processes for investigating alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct.
Developed in conjunction with Media Monitoring South Africa, the platform will provide for the online submission and tracking of complaints relating to disinformation encountered on social media platforms.

Gamane Gama, spokesperson for the Local Government Elections Disinformation Project said: “The IEC Code of Conduct prohibits political parties from ‘publishing false information about other parties’ and ‘generally abusing a position of power, privilege or influence to influence the outcome of an election’."
The platform is hosted on a website called "The Real 411" (www.real411.org). "411" is internet slang for information.

Disinformation is defined as false, inaccurate, or misleading information designed to intentionally cause harm. Within an election context this includes false information intended to unduly affect participation in and the outcome of elections.

The digital disinformation reporting platform forms part of the work of the Directorate of Electoral Offences which was first established ahead of the 2019 national and provincial elections to investigate alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct and prohibited conduct.

The “Real 411” site will contain a database of all complaints received and their progress. Meanwhile, the City working with the IEC has embarked on an awareness campaign to encourage the public to vote in the upcoming election.

Officials from the Community Participation and Action Support Unit (CPASU) and the IEC visited taxi ranks, train stations, shopping centers and popular destinations in the City to educate people about the importance of voting.

Manager of Regional Services at CPASU Sihle Thusini said voter education was vital as it ensures that registered voters will vote on 1 November. The awareness campaign will be rolled out at schools and the disability sector in coming weeks.
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