The first three known cases of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were reported in Bangladesh on 8 March 2020 by Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR). Referring to the spread of fake news around the coronavirus, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) used the term “Infodemic”.
In Pakistan disinformation has picked up over the recent years as a large segment of the population lacks digital literacy, making them vulnerable to various types of digital propaganda. Increase in access to digital tools such as WhatsApp has increased the exchange of misinformation. Individuals often share information without prior verification.
India passed the Right to Information (RTI) Act in 2005 which gave the hope of transparency and accountability to its citizens. Since its adoption, the act has helped in highlighting frauds and enabled citizens to hold public authorities accountable for their actions. However, over time the essence of the RTI Act has been systematically eroded.
Sri Lanka reported its first case of COVID-19 in early February in 2020. There was a rapid increase in the number of cases from March till May. However, health authorities were able to manage the situation and the country is now in a better position compared to many other neighboring countries.
“Fake it until you make it” is the first special report published within Freedom Barometer 2019 Index designed with intention to provide overview of the arising trend of the manipulation over public opinion using Internet, most commonly called FAKE NEWS.