Job Location: Flexible, particularly given varying regional restrictions on press freedom
Employment Type: Full-Time
Seniority Level: Associate
Job Category: Staff


The DFRLab is establishing a dedicated research team focusing on the Arabic language information environment in the Middle East, for which it is seeking a Research Fellow, Mideast, alongside another researcher to help launch this team. The Research Fellow will help lead the work of this research team, shaping the research focus through proactive collaboration with the Research Assistant. In addition, drawing on extensive knowledge of the regional political landscape and Arabic language expertise, the Research Fellow will serve as the lead investigator within the Mideast-focused team, working in coordination with the Research Assistant.

The Mideast-focused research team will use digital forensic techniques to identify, expose, and analyze disinformation campaigns affecting human rights and democratic institutions in the Arabic- speaking world. The planned expansion of our team and previous security focused work in the region will produce a body of work observing, investigating, and exposing influence operations, disinformation campaigns, and organized efforts to harass activists, independent journalists, political dissidents, and civil society across the Mideast, including identifying specific actors undertaking these activities. The researchers will conduct real-time monitoring of local information environments to provide actionable insights responsive to current developments.

The team will be critical to the DFRLab’s efforts to increase understanding of specific disinformation challenges and inform effective responses from regional stakeholders. Its research will inform the DFRLab’s Democracy + Tech Initiative’s ongoing engagements with government officials and policymakers, with the team’s analysis serving as the basis for policy recommendations. The Mideast researchers will also work with the others in the DFRLab’s global research team and will partner with local media outlets to achieve project goals. They will also build and manage a network of international and local partners to coordinate research activities and conduct Arabic-language trainings on research methods to foster digital resilience throughout the region.

We are currently hiring for an immediate start. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and will be accepted until a candidate has been selected for this position. For the application’s writing sample, please submit examples of relevant open-source research you have conducted.

Job Location

The protections afforded researchers and journalists in the region vary by country. In some countries, the government’s restrictions of press freedom make work of this nature difficult and dangerous. For the safety and security of the researchers, this team member will ideally be based in a country that has strong protections for journalists and free press. While we do not require the Middle East researchers be based in a particular country, the security implications of each candidate’s current country of residence will be taken into consideration.

Job responsibilities

  • Conduct ongoing open-source investigative research into the information environment and evolving disinformation trends in the Mideast;
  • Research and write reports covering malign influence activities and the spread of hostile narratives targeting political processes and vulnerable populations;
  • Lead and manage research portfolio for the Mideast team;
  • Gather and analyze relevant open-source data;
  • Build and manage a community committed to better understanding the role of online disinformation in the region;
  • Act as liaison for local media and research partners;
  • Adapt curricula for and conduct local trainings on open-source investigative techniques with civil society organizations and other partners;
  • Conduct briefings for government, news outlets, and civil society on research outcomes;
  • Identify additional research avenues; and
  • Assist broader reporting, as needed.


  • Fluency in English and Egyptian, Gulf, Levantine, Maghrebi, or Peninsular Arabic;
  • Deep experience in the field of technology policy or journalism and a passion for open-source research methodologies;
  • Proficient writing skills in English and Arabic in both long (e.g., report-length) and short (e.g., newspaper article) formats;
  • Proven superior research skills;
  • Able to work independently on project outputs;
  • Public-speaking competency;
  • Professional experience interacting with civil society groups and/or government officials;
  • Willingness to travel internationally;
  • Knowledge of the regional political landscape; and
  • Proven interest in the overlap between international relations, human rights, journalism, technology trends, social media, and online information environments.

Bonus Qualifications

  • History of managing researchers and research agendas;
  • Experience running trainings;
  • Advanced reading and listening skills in Persian, other dialects of Arabic, and/or other regional languages; and
  • General familiarity with other regional languages.

Explore the Program

The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) has operationalized the study of disinformation by exposing falsehoods and fake news, documenting human rights abuses, and building digital resilience worldwide.

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