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, which may describe the horrendous conditions in which the hostages are being held and the payment of ransom to criminal and political networks ( Callimachi, 2014a , 2014b ; Kiser, 2013 ). In the end, vital information about the abductions remains the monopoly of the political and criminal networks carrying them out, the aid-organisation crisis units handling them, the private security firms advising them and the intelligence services observing them. Keeping the public and aid workers

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

disinformation. But they have not yet closely examined their impact in humanitarian crises. This is a remarkable oversight. In humanitarian crises, false information can have life-and-death consequences. As Jeanne Bourgault, President and Chief Executive Officer of Internews, states, false information can ‘undercut efforts to improve health, make disasters worse than they already are, alienate vulnerable populations, and even incite violence’ (quoted in Igoe, 2017 ). This article introduces the emerging research about online disinformation and the many forms it

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

: geographic distances as national or international responders travel to a locale experiencing crisis, but also social, cultural, political and narrative distances due to the vastly divergent experiences of people caught up in crises. A key challenge for humanitarian ethics is to take account both of the steep asymmetries between those seeking to provide assistance (though not always succeeding) and others who require help due to a crisis, and the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs