Paper: Addressing, Acknowledging, and Responding to Inequity-Driven Mistrust: A Human-Centered Approach to Strengthening Information Ecosystems and Responding to Misinformation in Humanitarian Contexts

Paper details

Paper authors Alejandro Posada, Rocio Lopez IƱigo
In panel on Mis/disinformation during crises: is humanitarianism part of the problem or the solution?
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online


This paper addresses a critical literature gap by deepening our understanding of a significant yet often overlooked driver of mistrust and misinformation in humanitarian settings: inequity driven mistrust. While previous studies have examined how structural racism and discrimination affect trust in health information, these investigations have predominantly focused on high-income settings. Our research, conducted in northern Iraq and southern the Colombian Amazon, explores:

1. Inequity's Role in Mistrust: We delve into how historical and ongoing inequities significantly foster mistrust in health information within at-risk communities in humanitarian settings.
2. Impact of Inequity-Driven Mistrust: We assess the consequences of inequity-driven mistrust on managing infodemics and responding to humanitarian health emergencies.
3. Mitigating Inequity-Driven Mistrust: We propose strategies to address and alleviate deeply rooted inequities that hinder effective infodemic management and emergency health responses.

Our research finds that inequities can become entrenched in postcolonial knowledge production structures, unequal health systems, and uneven medical supply distribution, profoundly influencing trust in information. Neglecting these systemic inequities severely hampers our ability to manage infodemics and respond to health emergencies. Drawing from empirical experience, we suggest strategies focusing on information ecosystem resilience, two-way communication, and community engagement to navigate misinformation. This research is part of "Rooted in Trust," a global pandemic information response addressing rampant health misinformation.

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