April 29, 2020
The consequences of both the problem can’t be compromised; if pandemic poses a serious threat to global health, the infodemic hijacks the flow of information.
The problem emerges out of such crisis period that infodemic cannot be denied for the sake of pandemic or the vice versa. Therefore, it has become important to keep a parallel control over both the issues and WHO is up to its responsibility of doing the same.
Things become more serious when both the issues emerge as an embedded form into one. At times, infodemic rides the wave of pandemic across the globe while on the other hand one cannot deny the fact that it is pandemic in this crisis period that feeds the infodemic to grow.
Due to the high demand for timely and trustworthy information about 2019-nCoV, WHO technical risk communication and social media teams have been working closely to track and respond to myths and rumors.
Through its headquarters in Geneva, its six regional offices and its partners, the Organization is working 24 hours a day to identify the most prevalent rumors that can potentially harm the public’s health, such as false prevention measures or cures. These myths are then refuted with evidence-based information.
WHO is making public health information and advice on the 2019-nCoV, including myth busters, available on its social media channels (including Weibo, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest) and website.
Apart from WHO, the larger responsibility lies at the hands of each countries to form a communication and community engagement network in order to dispel the fake and consider the true information about the public health.
Such networks are the need of hour as for a parent and global health organization like WHO, it is not always possible to trace both the problem of infodemic and pandemic at the same time until and unless each country across the globe communicate the fact-based information with all other countries and importantly with WHO.
It is either an overburden for WHO if all the countries do not coordinate in communicating about the Covid-19 with true information and transparency; or it is a risky communication for WHO if it tries to control both the issue on its own.
FAKE: A private Telugu TV channel has scrolled a news item that 32 year-old Ms.Elisa Granato, the first person to take part in Oxford’s coronavirus trial is dead. The same is being shared widely on the social media platforms.
FACT: “She is very much alive”. The BBC’s medical correspondent Fergus Walsh wrote on Twitter that he had spoken to Dr Granato over Skype and even shared a video of Dr Granato saying that she was “very much alive” and “having a cup of tea”. The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care has also said that the story is “completely untrue”.
#CheckTheFake is a movement against #Infodemic in this crisis, initiated by Dr Anamika Ray Memorial Trust #ARMT (www.armt.in) in collaboration with The Assam Tribune and Northeast Now (www.nenow.in) to create awareness on #fakenews on #Coronavirus and improve media literacy through #Cartoons. ARMT Research