Burkina Faso: International media investigation reveals impact of disinformation on humanitarian work

Geneva (ICRC) – An independent investigation by a consortium of news organizations (known as “Forbidden Stories”) led to the publication on 16 February 2023 of a number of articles in the international press about the humanitarian operations of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Burkina Faso.
News release 17 February 2023 Burkina Faso

“We live in the digital era in a world where information travels extremely quickly and can be easily manipulated,” said Patrick Youssef, the director for the ICRC’s operations in Africa.

“Misinformation and disinformation can have a real impact on the humanitarian work we carry out to help the most vulnerable people, and we ask everyone to think carefully about what they choose to share.”

The ICRC takes the issue of disinformation very seriously, as it can have severe consequences for the people it seeks to help and its ability to carry out its operations. False and manipulated information that is spread in armed conflicts and other situations of violence can increase the risks facing both those who have already been hit hard and the humanitarian organizations themselves.

Everybody – including states, the media and humanitarians themselves – must work together to ensure that the long-standing consensus on safeguarding impartial humanitarian action prevails, both in law and in practice, in the digital era.

Present in Burkina Faso since 2006, the ICRC works to fulfil its humanitarian mandate to assist and protect the people most affected by the security crisis in the country. It does this in strict accordance with its Fundamental Principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. Its aim is to relieve human suffering purely on the basis of need, regardless of race, gender, politics or religion.


For further information, please contact:

Alyona SYNENKO, ICRC Nairobi,
Tel: +254 716 897 265, asynenko@icrc.org

Tarek WHEIBI, ICRC Dakar,
Tel: +221781864687, twheibi@icrc.org

Zalissa SANFO, ICRC Ouagadougou,
Tel: + 226 60 55 84 88, szalissa@icrc.org