#infohygiene in Times of Pandemics

The world is dealing with a new and challenging crisis with fast-evolving science, combined with a staggering flow of information, the first global “infodemic”.

And while we are forced to keep a distance from our fellow human beings, the virus has also shown us just how connected we all are. Information is forwarded and then forwarded again, breaking news with new cases, mitigation measurements, unforeseen effects and encouraging breakthroughs, have us jumping between devices and screens. Some suffer from information fatigue, others risk being left out of the loop, but everyone is equally struggling to navigate and find the right information that is relevant to their context.

Internews has been working on rumours, misinformation and disinformation for many years, including in the Ebola-response in 2014 where we launched our first rumour-tracking project, a methodology we continue to use, adapt and improve in humanitarian responses around the world. It also helps us grapple with fake news and disinformation when it infiltrates the mainstream media.

The information ecosystem is now truly global, which can be overwhelming. Local media are uniquely positioned to be a bridge between science and daily life. The media can make sense of the science for their audiences, translating facts into truly useful information. The media can also connect the questions from those living within their community, with the services and advice from those who are trying to improve their lives.

Misinformation and rumours thrive when people feel ignored, when the information they get does not take into account the reality they live in. Disinformation gets traction, when it manages to speak a language people prefer, rather than a language they understand, when it speaks to their concerns, their fears and their hopes.

We need to get our facts straight, that’s a basic rule of journalism. But more than just providing facts, we need to be sure we understand why a half-truth was believed in the first place.

There’s no magic formula, no cure, no vaccine against misinformation. But, with the following tips and tricks, journalists can play their part in slowing the spread of misinformation.

Source: #infohygiene in Times of Pandemics

  • Stijn Aelbers
  • saelbers@internews.org

Local Media and Community Engagement in Humanitarian Settings

In an information climate as complex as that surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, local information plays a vital role in determining how communities respond to public health orders and guidance.

Alongside the current restrictions we are all subject to, the need for information – especially among vulnerable and marginalized groups – is greater than ever before. People need simple, practical information to protect themselves, their families, and communities . They also need ways to elevate their voices and concerns.

In this guide, lnternews lays out an approach to community engagement involving a range of mechanisms that are alternatives to face-to-face. Given the current pandemic context, we are required to adapt our trusted Communicating with Communities methodologies to ensure people have access to information that responds directly to their questions and concerns, thus tackling misinformation and dispelling rumors.

Source: Local Media and Community Engagement in Humanitarian Settings

  • Stijn Aelbers
  • saelbers@internews.org

Tools to Support Journalists and Newsrooms during COVID-19

This site is designed to help journalists in their reporting on COVID-19.  It includes information about rumors and misinformation, links to factsheets, infographics, webinars, and more.

Source: Tools to Support Journalists and Newsrooms during COVID-19

    Translators without Borders Glossary for COVID-19

    Translators without Borders (TWB) is identifying key terminology that people use to talk about COVID-19 as well as commonly-used technical terms to develop a multilingual, plain-language glossary.

    The glossary is designed to assist field workers and interpreters engaging with communities to raise awareness about COVID-19. It aims to improve communication between responders and affected communities by providing accurate translations of useful terminology related to the disease outbreak. In the coming weeks, we will keep adding new terms and additional languages to make this glossary far more widely relevant.

    Source: Translators without Borders Glossary for COVID-19

      Internews COVID-19 Microsite

      With funding from the H2H Network, Internews is responding to the spread of COVID-19 by combatting the spread of rumours and misinformation. This project aims to support busy newsrooms/journalists  with the resources and content they need to responsibly address misinformation in this crisis.

      This project is in partnership with BBC Media ActionTranslators without Borders and Evidence Aid. With valuable support from Standby Task Force and Anthrologica.

      The goals of the project are to:

      • Help journalists respond to misinformation with verified information from sources they can trust
      • Translate quality COVID-19 resources into local languages
      • Create engaging content to respond to community information gaps

      Source: Internews COVID-19 Microsite

        Actions to Support Media, Enhance Access to Information, and Leverage Digital Technologies in the Fight Against the Pandemic

        UNESCO is the UN agency with a specific mandate to promote “free flow of ideas by word and image”. It welcomes the immense efforts of communication and information communities to tackle the current COVID-19 crisis, including:

        • sharing lifesaving information, debunking misinformation,
        • strengthening the implementation of the fundamental right to information,
        • leveraging the use of public interest media, ICTs and OER for e-learning, and connecting people online.

        UNESCO is closely monitoring the impact of this crisis on media freedom, safety of journalists, and the fundamental right to access information.

        In a context of unprecedented challenges for the media and digital technology sectors, UNESCO has created a “resource center” of selected responses to COVID-19.
        It includes a collection of examples of actions related to communication and information made available for the purpose of:

        • Sharing practices
        • Identifying priorities
        • Facilitating partnerships
        • Amplifying good practices
        • Providing advice and technical assistance to governments and relevant national stakeholders
        • Fostering North-South, South-South, and triangular cooperation

        This “clearing house” provides a non-exhaustive list of illustrative examples. It will continue to evolve with the COVID-19 pandemic and the quick development of responses.

        Source: Actions to Support Media, Enhance Access to Information, and Leverage Digital Technologies in the Fight Against the Pandemic