FRONTLINE 4: The murmuration of information disorders: Aotearoa New Zealand‚ mis- and disinformation ecologies and the Parliament Protest
The Disinformation Project
The Parliament Protest from February 2022 to March 2022 was a significant online and offline event in Aotearoa New Zealand. Offline, its physical presence captured the attention of the nation and fuelled debates about ideas of legitimate protest in Aotearoa New Zealand. Online, its data signatures showed never-seen-before popularity with misinformation, disinformation, and extremist thought. In this article The Disinformation Project (https://thedisinfoproject.org/) incorporates quantitative and qualitative data analysis to explore the role misinformation and disinformation played in the nurture and nature of the protest on Parliament grounds. The article also explores how the protest was projected on social media, disinformation and misinformation ecologies associated with it, and lasting impacts on social cohesion, identity, news media and democracy in Aotearoa New Zealand.
This article has been published with permission from The Disinformation Project (https://thedisinfoproject.org/), Te Pūnaha Matatini, and Centre for Science in Society, Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington as a collaboration with Pacific Journalism Review: Te Koakoa under the umbrella of PJR’s Frontline critical reflexive journalism programme.
Anti-mandate protesters march across Auckland Harbour Bridge. (2022, February 26). RNZ. Retrieved March 12, 2022, from https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/462329/anti-mandate-protesters-march-across-auckland-harbour-bridge
Barnes, J. E. . (2022, May 8). Russian disinformation targets vaccines and the Biden Administration. The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2022, from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/05/us/politics/covid-vaccines-russian-disinformation.html
Berentson-Shaw, J., & Elliot, M. (2020). Misinformation and covid-19: A briefing for media. Wellington, NZ: The Workshop.
Brew, A.. (2022, February 9). Picton anti-covid mandates camp a scene of peace and tranquility compared to Beehive. Stuff. Retrieved March 12, 2022, from https://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/300513971/picton-anticovid-mandates-camp-a-scene-of-peace-and-tranquility-compared-to-beehive
Chittock, N. (2022, February 17). ‘The law has failed’: Cranmer Square residents say protesters camping illegally. RNZ. Retrieved March 12, from https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/461724/the-law-has-failed-cranmer-square-residents-say-protesters-camping-illegally
Churchwell, S. (2021). What is vernacular history? In H. Carr and S. Lipscomb (Eds.), What is history, now? How the past and present speak to each other. London, UK: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
Covid 19 omicron outbreak: Protest convoy heading to Wellington. (2022, February 6). The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-omicron-outbreak-protest-convoy-heading-to-wellington/6DVTHXLSTC26QGA3OKKOOZTCZU/
Covid-19 Vaccination for children: What you need to know. (2022, January 13). RNZ. Retrieved March 18, 2022, from https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/459515/covid-19-vaccination-for-children-what-you-need-to-know
Covid-19: 28 parliament protesters believed to have tested positive. RNZ. Retrieved March 13, 2022, from https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/462884/covid-19-28-parliament-protesters-believed-to-have-tested-positive
Coyne, A. (2022, February 23). Our shared reality -- and the knowledge that undergirds it -- is being assaulted. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-our-shared-reality-and-the-knowledge-that-undergirds-it-is-being/
Daalder, M. (2022, May 4). Security agencies warned of violence at parliament. Newsroom. Retrieved May 7, 2022, from https://www.newsroom.co.nz/security-agencies-warned-of-violence-at-parliament
Duggan, E., & Hotter, R. (2022, February 28) ‘We don’t deserve this’: Wellington students kept away from school by parliament protest. TheSpinoff. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/28-02-2022/we-dont-deserve-this-wellington-students-kept-away-from-school-by-parliament-protest
Ellul, J. (1965). Propaganda: The formation of men’s attitudes. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1965.
Explained: What the traffic light system is and how it works. (2021, November 23). RNZ. Retrieved March 18, 2022, from https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/456303/explained-what-the-traffic-light-system-is-and-how-it-works
Facts first: Did antifa infiltrate capitol rioters? (2021, n.d.). CNN Politics. Retrieved March 19, 2022, from https://edition.cnn.com/factsfirst/politics/factcheck_2de70522-d574-479b-a101-6948f1d78338
Francis, O. (2022, February 14). Diverse views expressed by protesters camped out in Octagon. The Otago Daily Times. Retrieved March 12, 2022, from https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/diverse-views-expressed-protesters-camped-out-octagon
Frijda, N. H. (1988). The laws of emotion. American Psychologist, 43(5), 349-358.
Gluckman, P., Bardsley, A., Spoonley, P., Royal, C., Simon-Kumar, N., & Chen, A. (20121). Sustaining Aotearoa New Zealand as a cohesive society. Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures: University of Auckland.
Gosselin-Malo, E. (2022). Canada’s freedom convoy: A far right protest, explained. ISPI Online. Retrieved May 7, 2022, from https://www.ispionline.it/en/pubblicazione/canadas-freedom-convoy-far-right-protest-explained-33192
Hall, K. (2022, February 11) Hostility at parliament: 1news reporter reflects on protest. 1News. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://www.1news.co.nz/2022/02/10/hostility-at-parliament-1news-reporter-reflects-on-protest/
Hannah, K. (2021). When worlds collide: Addressing harm, hateful and violent extremism, and disinformation in Aotearoa New Zealand. In He Whenua Taurika Hui.
Hannah, K., Hattotuwa, S., & Taylor, K. (2021). Mis- and Disinformation in Aotearoa New Zealand from 17 August to 5 November 2021. Te Pūnaha Matatini, University of Auckland. Retrieved from https://thedisinfoproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/2021-11-09-FINAL-working-paper-disinformation..pdf
Manhire, T. (2022, February 18). Figureheads and factions: The key people at the parliament occupation. TheSpinoff. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/18-02-2022/figureheads-and-factions-the-key-people-at-parliament-occupation
Manhire, T. (2022, February 9). Signs of a schism as anti-mandate protesters turn on each other. TheSpinoff. Retrieved May 5, 2022, from https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/09-02-2022/signs-of-a-schism-as-anti-mandate-protesters-turn-on-each-other
Mendoza-Denton, N. (2020). The show must go on: Hyperbole and falsehood in Trump’s performance. In J. McIntosh & N. Mendoza-Denton (Eds.), Language in the Trump era: scandals and emergencies. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Ministry of Health. (2022, March 2). Covid19 update 2 March 2022: 60% of Māori boosted; 22,152 community cases; 405 in Hospital; 10 in Icu. [News release]. Retrieved from https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/news-items/60-maori-boosted-22152-community-cases-405-hospital-10-icu
Ministry of Health. (2022, February 6). Covid19 update 6 February 2022: More than 48,000 booster doses given yesterday; 208 community cases; 12 in hospital; 1 in Icu. [News release]. Retrieved from https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/news-items/more-48000-booster-doses-given-yesterday-208-community-cases-12-hospital-1-icu.
Moir, J. (2021, November 16). Increased security at MPs’ Wellington residences. Newsroom. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://www.newsroom.co.nz/increased-security-at-mps-wellington-residences
New data shows threats to Kiwi politicians on the rise. (2022, January 25). 1news. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://www.1news.co.nz/2022/01/25/new-data-shows-threats-to-kiwi-politicians-on-the-rise/
Oliphant, J., & Kahn, C. (2021, April 5). Half of Republicans believe false accounts of deadly US Capitol riot-Reuters/Ipsos Poll. Reuters. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-politics-disinformation-idUSKBN2BS0RZ
Police negotiators making ‘good progress’ in bid to end occupation of parliament’s grounds. (2022, February 14). RNZ. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/covid-19/461453/police-negotiators-making-good-progress-in-bid-to-end-occupation-of-parliament-s-grounds
Protest at parliament named as covid location of interest. (2022, February 24) 1News. Retrieved March 18, 2022, from https://www.1news.co.nz/2022/02/23/protest-at-parliament-named-as-covid-location-of-interest/
Reeve, D. (2022, January 25). ‘No, five kids didn’t collapse at a vaccination site. So who said they did?’ TheSpinoff. Retrieved March 19, 2022, from https://thespinoff.co.nz/irl/25-01-2022/no-five-kids-didnt-collapse-at-a-vaccination-site-so-who-said-they-did
Reeve, D. (2022, February 28). The tinfoil has been unrolled in Wellington. The Spinoff. Retrieved May 7, 2022, from https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/28-02-2022/the-tinfoil-has-been-unrolled-in-wellington
Reeve, D. (2022, February 16). Why we can expect more aggressive quasi-legal action from covid protesters. The Spinoff. Retrieved March 12, 2022, from https://thespinoff.co.nz/irl/16-02-2022/why-we-can-expect-more-aggressive-quasi-legal-action-from-covid-protesters
Sadler, R. (2022, February 6). Anti-covid mandate protesters confused after trolls infiltrate Telegram, attempt to mislead convoy. Newshub. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2022/02/anti-covid-mandate-protesters-confused-after-trolls-infiltrate-telegram-attempt-to-mislead-convoy.html
Scott, M. 2020, September 28 ) Inside Russia’s state-media propaganda machine. Politico. Retrieved May 7, 2020, from https://www.politico.eu/article/russia-propaganda-disinformation-rt/
Spoonley, P., Gluckman, P., Bardsley, A., McIntosh, T., Hunia, R., Johal, S., & Poulton, R. (2020)‚ He Oranga Hou: Social cohesion in a post-covid world. Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures: University of Auckland.
Todd, K. (2022, January 17). Children’s vaccine rollout kicks off as government warns of omicron threat. RNZ. Retrieved March 19, 2022, from https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/459703/children-s-vaccine-rollout-kicks-off-as-government-warns-of-omicron-threat
Walters, L. (2022, March 5). Parliament grounds have been cleared but deep-seated issues remain. Stuff. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominionpost/news/wellington/127945205/parliament-grounds-have-been-cleared-but-deepseated-issues-remain
Wardle, C., & Derakhshan, H. (2017). Information disorder: Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policy making. Strasbourg, France: Council of Europe.
Watch - Jacinda Ardern and Ashley Bloomfield hold covid-19 briefing on omicron. (2022, January 23). RNZ. Retrieved March 19, 2022, from https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/460016/watch-jacinda-ardern-and-ashley-bloomfield-hold-covid-19-briefing-on-omicron
Copyright (c) 2022 Kate Hannah, Sanjana Hattotuwa, Kayli Taylor
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.