Closed Circuit: Disinformation

The Centre for Investigative Journalism and the Institute of Contemporary Arts: ICA present Closed Circuit, a series of broadcast discussions on the status of information in the age of digital media.


Bringing together figures from the worlds of journalism, politics, media theory and the arts, the series spans state-sponsored propaganda, ‘fake news’, revised histories, and the role of non-disclosure agreements and whistle-blowers in the shaping of public perceptions. It also looks at ways in which narratives are formed within the digital sphere through aesthetic and linguistic registers.

Filmed in front of a studio audience and available to stream live, the first episode, ‘Disinformation’, took place on Wednesday 30 October. It addressed the subject of false information spread deliberately to deceive. From Russian bots to recent controversies over the British government’s counter-propaganda efforts, what does disinformation really mean and who are its practitioners? How does disinformation function across both language and image? Participants include artist Sophia Al Maria, writer Hossein Derakhshan, and journalists Sophia Ignatidou and Matt Kennard. Moderated by CIJ Director James Harkin.

Watch the full conversation HERE

Closed Circuit – Disinformation: The speakers:

Sophia Al-Maria is a Qatari-American screenwriter and artist. Her new film Beast Type Song is currently showing at Tate Britain as part of the Art Now program until February 2020. Her book Sad Sack (2019) is out with Bookworks.


Hossein Derakhshan is an Iranian-Canadian writer and researcher who focuses on the long-term socio-political impacts of media and technology. In the early 2000s, he introduced blogging to Iran, which earned him the title of ‘blogfather’. He was imprisoned in Tehran from 2008–14 for his writings and online activism. Derakhshan is the author of the longform essay ‘The Web We Have to Save’ (2015), a co-author of the Council of Europe’s report into disinformation, ‘Information Disorder: Toward an Interdisciplinary Framework for Research and Policymaking’ (2017), and he has written for The New York TimesThe GuardianLibérationMIT Technology ReviewWired, and other outlets.


Sophia Ignatidou is an Academy Stavros Niarchos Foundation Fellow at the International Security Department of Chatham House. She researches artificial intelligence, disinformation, political campaigning, propaganda and surveillance. Before joining Chatham House in 2018, she was working as a freelance journalist and digital sub-editor for The GuardianThe Sunday Times, and CNN, among others. Sophia holds an MA in Journalism from Goldsmiths, University of London, as well as an MA/PGDip in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies.


Matt Kennard is an investigative journalist and co-founder of Declassified UK, a new outlet covering British national security issues. He worked as a staff writer for the Financial Times in the US and UK and is the author of two books, Irregular Army (2012), which investigated the degradation of the US military during the War on Terror and The Racket (2015), which investigated how the US rigs the global economy for the benefit of its elite.


With the support of:

Reva and David Logan Foundation