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Digital media and citizen journalism have escalated the infiltration of fake news in the recent past- especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, which witnessed an unprecedented surge in global misinformation. Given the disproportionality between fact-checking entities and myriad sources of false information- journalists and news agencies everywhere are grappling with a deluge of speculative and fear-mongering content regarding the pandemic, which is further amplified by echo chambers and trust networks, ultimately fanning antimask and anti-vaccines protests.
With support from the US Consulate, Kolkata, CUTS International implemented the project entitled “Role of Journalists to Curb Health Related Misinformation in times of COVID-19 focusing on Women Journalists”. Under this project connecting key journalists, in coordination with US Consulate team, on a common virtual platform to discuss issues of infodemic – fake news, misinformation, disinformation circulated during COVID-19 pandemic, and coming up with strategies to counter this surge of false, unverified information. In addition, the project also emphasized creating a cadre of women journalists who will take forward the initiative of combatting disinformation in times of pandemics.
The project, supported by the US Consulate, Kolkata, aims to achieve the following:
- Identify, connect, and create a group of informed journalists to counter mis/disinformation related to the Covid-19 pandemic and its catastrophic consequences on public health.
- Creating a cadre of women journalists who will take forward the initiative of combatting disinformation in times of pandemics.
- Provide a platform for the women journalist to discuss and develop concrete strategies to counter mis/disinformation at the time of the pandemic.
- Connecting key journalists, in coordination with US Consulate team, on a common virtual platform to discuss issues of infodemic – fake news, misinformation, disinformation circulated during COVID-19 pandemic, and coming up with strategies to counter this surge of false, unverified information.
- The sessions conducting under this project, aimed at addressing the information asymmetry related to the Covid-19 pandemic and its catastrophic consequences for public health. Additionally, the discussions also covered the numerous ways in which unverified information enters digital platforms and how they propagate vaccine misinformation, fanning anti-vaccination efforts.
- Providing participants with a sense of connection, and training them on the required skills for curbing mis/disinformation (including presenting cases through first-person narratives of the on-ground situation) and strategies, as they endure the COVID-19 pandemic in India and neighbouring countries;
- Emphasizing on creating a cadre of women journalists who will take forward the initiative of combatting disinformation in the times of pandemic.
- Facilitating a collaborative network of stakeholders who can help each other fight this infodemic in the face of limited access to credible sources of information.
- The team selected the most prominent pieces of news pertaining to the pandemic regarding ways to combat with the virus, vaccination drive and usage of protective gears etc. These pieces were then verified through multiple sources and a declaration was made on the authenticity of such news based on evidence.
- The team prepared a Briefing Paper on Unpacking the Impact of Health-related Mis/Disinformation and the Need for Responsible, Reliable Journalism During COVID-19 Pandemic – focusing on how the mass media (including Social Media Platforms) that has traditionally been there to circulate verified information to the masses, played a crucial role in spreading misinformation. This paper also examined other related aspects like use of easily available technology, gap between the actual and the presented narratives, role of responsible journalism etc. in countering the surge of infodemic especially during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Also, a consolidated report on the session deliberations was prepared along with the Fact Checking Document and the Briefing Paper.
- Three roundtable discussions and training on ‘Countering the surge of Misinformation/Disinformation during Covid-19 pandemic’ were organised in collaboration with the U.S Consulate.
- Mapping of workshop participants and mentors/trainers
- Finalization of workshop components
- Digital stories to counter the mis/disinformation during a pandemic.
- Project summary report.
Women journalists from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia participated in this session. The project would also invite representatives from media in the US as resource persons to share their experiences and subject knowledge.
Established in 1983, Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS International) is a non-profit non-governmental organization, engaged in promoting consumer sovereignty in the framework of social justice, economic equality and environmental balance, within and across borders. It is a leading Southern voice working on three verticals: Rules-based trade; Effective regulation; and Good governance. More information is available here: http://www.cuts-international.org/pdf/Programme_Brochure.pdf
CUTS operate out of 14 Centers spread across India, Africa, South East Asia, Europe and USA. More information is available here: http://www.cuts-international.org.
CUTS Calcutta Resource Center (CUTS CRC), more details available at (https://www.cuts-crc.org/).
- Enhance level of media literacy to counter mis/disinformation amongst the participants.
- A well-trained team of women journalists to deal with the effects of mistakes / misunderstandings during an epidemic.
- Infodemic in the times of a Pandemic: Combating misinformation in North Carolina, USA by Brooke Van Dam (Director of Partnerships and Education) and Steve Johnson (Founder), Seeboundless
March 31, 2022
- Misinformation/ Disinformation during Covid time by Ms. Smita Sharma, Photojournalist and TED Fellow
March 31, 2022
- Countering Misinformation/Disinformation during Covid-19 pandemic
March 15, 2022
Key Resource Group
- Coming soon…
- Coming soon…
- Minutes of Digital Training Sessions on Countering Health-Related False Information during Pandemic
- Unpacking the Impact of Health-related Mis/Disinformation and the Need for Responsible, Reliable Journalism During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Debunking Disinformation Misinformation Related to Health and Pandemic
- Coming soon…
Consumer Unity & Trust Society
Calcutta Resource Centre
99/5/9A, Dr. Amiyo Bose Sarani, 3rd Floor
Ph: +91 33 4068 3154
Telefax: +91 33 2460 4987
For any immediate assistance related to this project, please contact-
Mr. Arnab Ganguly: +91 9874410391
Mrs. Sucharita Banerjee: +919051745664
Ms. Baishali Lodh Chowdhury: +916290506507