Displaying items by tag: misinformation

Thursday, 28 January 2021 20:52

Christian MP’s anti-lockdown comments

Senior Christian Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne claimed that Covid-19 statistics were ‘manipulated’. In a November interview by a US anti-vaccine campaigner, he said, ‘Official data should not be trusted’. Also, he told the anti-lockdown group Save Our Rights UK that the figures of deaths being quoted were at a typical level for the time of year. They were manageable, and the UK had become ‘a police state’. He accused the Government of attempting to implement ‘social control’ through actions such as the mandatory wearing of face masks. Michael Gove called for Sir Desmond to issue a full retraction and apologise for ‘unacceptable’ comments. The deputy Labour leader said endorsing conspiracy theories and questioning the official figures was deeply dangerous, as there is absolutely no evidence.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 03 December 2020 21:01

Covid vaccine - rumours amid trickle of facts

With the rollout of vaccines for Covid-19 now imminent, there are increasing concerns around misinformation (online or on social media) turning people against being immunised. The WHO says an overload of information, some false, makes it difficult for people to make decisions about their health. One participant in a coronavirus vaccine trial said, ‘It's often very difficult with the amount of information that we are being bombarded with to make sense of what you should be doing. I think a vaccine is one of the only ways out of the situation if we want to get away from endless lockdowns and curfews.’ Researchers have moved at record speed to develop vaccines, and the WHO is monitoring data from over 200 trials on several types of vaccine based on different technologies. They are going through the same safety tests as vaccines already used all around the world.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 18 June 2020 21:35

Social media and virus conspiracy theories

A research team from Kings College London suggests social media news sites may need to do more to regulate misleading content as people who get their news from social media sources are more likely to break lockdown rules. Its report says, ‘Unregulated social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube may present a health risk to the UK because they are spreading conspiracy theories about coronavirus. One wonders how long this state of affairs can be allowed to persist.’ The study concludes, ‘Conspiracy beliefs act to inhibit health-protective behaviours, and social media act as a vector for such beliefs.’ In response, Facebook says it has removed a huge amount of misinformation from its sites, and directed 3.5 million visits to the official NHS and Government Covid-19 information sites.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 23 April 2020 21:58

Global: the human cost of censorship

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) stated recently, ‘Some of the most active centres of Covid-19 infection, such as China and Iran, are countries where the media have been unable to fulfil their role of informing the public. There is an urgent need to render an exhaustive and honest account of the obstacles to press freedom and the attempts to manipulate information during this unprecedented epidemic. And we must offer solutions that enable journalists now and tomorrow to provide reliable information and combat rumours.’ With this in mind, RSF has launched Tracker-19 to monitor and evaluate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on journalism, and to offer recommendations on how to defend the right to information. The tool will monitor not only coronavirus but any unprecedented global crisis. It will document state censorship and deliberate disinformation, and their impact on the right to reliable news and information. It will also make recommendations on how to defend journalism.

Published in Worldwide