CAPE TOWN – #PledgetoPause is a campaign by the UN aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 misinformation.
During the early days of the pandemic, wild conspiracy theories began sprouting online about the virus.Several months later into the pandemic, covid-19 misinformation is spreading at almost the same rate as the virus itself.
This has sparked what UN Secretary General António Guterres calls a “communications emergency” caused by false information disseminated on social media.
Guterres said the #PledgetoPause campaign is based on research which indicates that taking a brief pause before sharing information can significantly lessen the inclination to share shocking or emotive material, and slow the spread of misinformation.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, the wrong information can be deadly. Take the pledge to pause and help stop the spread of misinformation,” added Guterres.
Meanwhile, some countries have taken the hardline approach on spreading Covid-19 misinformation.According to Austrian based International Press Institute 16 countries that have passed new laws targeting misinformation about the coronavirus.
China has some of the world’s strictest laws against the spread of misinformation. The Philippines and Vietnam have passed similar laws this year.
While in Serbia a journalist was arrested in April for reporting about a lack of personal protective equipment at a hospital under a new law that limits the sharing of news about Covid-19.
The new campaign is part of Verified, a UN initiative launched in May to share science-backed health information and stories of global solidarity around Covid-19.
African media organizations such as MultiChoice and Yuvaa also are helping to distribute campaign messaging.
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