Toxic Disinformation: Credibility Attacks Against Journalists

Journalists around the world face attacks on their reputations and efforts to undermine the impact of their work. These “credibility attacks” can take the form of false allegations, insults about their character or professionalism, or denigration of their social identity. They often take place online, and in some cases involve disinformation tactics such as doctored images and accusations spread by actors using fake identities. Anecdotal cases of credibility attacks have received attention but there is no systematic study of their prevalence globally, the forms they take, or their impact on journalists. While there is growing recognition of online harassment of female journalists, much less attention is given to issues of ethnicity, race or religion. Working with PEN Canada, UBC researchers will address these knowledge gaps to improve understanding of this issue and propose measures to counteract it.

Faculty Supervisor:

Peter Klein


Christopher Tenove


PEN Canada


Political science


Other services (except public administration)


University of British Columbia



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