More than 200 security officials across the Caribbean Region will gather for a virtual course on the malicious use of social media by violent non-state actors during COVID-19 on 8th April 2021. The spread of misinformation and disinformation is a threat faced by most CARICOM Member States and is high on the CARICOM agenda.
The CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) are collaborating to build capacity in the Region to counter organised criminal groups and prevent violent extremists using social media maliciously - to spread misinformation and disinformation.
Organised Criminal Groups and violent extremists are trying to take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to expand their activities and jeopardize the efficacy and credibility of governments’ response measures. These criminal groups have created and amplified misleading content on a large-scale by taking advantage of vulnerabilities in the social media ecosystem and by manipulating people through conspiracy narratives and fake news.
The Police, Military, Customs, Immigration, Prisons and Intelligence Agencies as well as government officials in CARICOM countries who are working in key ministries responsible for the management of the COVID-19 crisis, will benefit from the course - which will expose them to best practices and support measures. Participants will also be provided with in-depth knowledge and awareness of the risks posed by organised criminal groups and violent extremists during COVID-19 and the possible countermeasures.
The course will be delivered by key global experts from UNICRI; Malmo University, Sweden; European Action Service and Saint Joseph University, Lebanon.
It is expected that these efforts by CARICOM IMPACS and UNICRI will strengthen CARICOM countries capacity to better manage misinformation and disinformation by malicious actors.
About CARICOM IMPACS
CARICOM IMPACS is the coordinating and implementation arm of the region’s multilateral crime and security management architecture, specifically designed to administer a collective response to the crime and security priorities of its Member States. Its members comprise fifteen (15) CARICOM Member States and five (5) Associate Members. IMPACS comprises the Headquarters which is in Trinidad and Tobago and two sub-Agencies, the Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC) and the Regional Intelligence Fusion Centre (RIFC).
Established in 1968, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) carries out action-oriented research and training and implements technical cooperation programmes. It aims to assist governments and the international community at large in tackling criminal threats to social peace, development and political stability and in fostering the development of just and efficient criminal justice systems. UNICRI supports the formulation and implementation of improved policies in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice, the promotion of national self-reliance, and the development of institutional capabilities.