Can SA hold a general election on May 8 in a way that really represents the views of its people? One might have thought this was an academic question. The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) is well respected and the legal system is robust. There are certainly enough political parties — about 285 are registered even if most are unlikely to participate in the May elections — for the national and nine provincial legislatures. But there have been worrying signs pointing to the use of disinformation during previous elections and these need to be heeded. Google is deploying some of its vast resources to train political parties, journalists and editors how to spot and fight fake news. This is part of a $300m international initiative it announced in March 2018 that has three objectives: to “highlight accurate journalism while fighting misinformation, particularly during breaking news events, to “help news sites continue to grow from a business perspective” and finally to “create new tools to ...

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