The day is March 11, 2020. The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declares a SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and Bulgaria is only a few days away from a national state of emergency. There are only six confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. While fears are growing, most citizens can hardly imagine what will happen worldwide.
The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a few prominent conspiracy theories. One of the most popular ones draws a connection between the building of 5G infrastructure and the spread of the virus. George Soros, who has often been the target of conspiracy plots, was labelled as the mastermind behind the new Coronavirus.
In Ukraine, disinformation poses a particular threat to democracy, open society as well as national security. Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, together with Deutsche Welle Academy, tries to explore new ways of raising awareness and improving media literacy.
In a text written for the FNF East and Southeast Europe Regional Office, Serbian economist Mihailo Gajic analyzes the danger of disinformation spread by governments based on the case of Serbia. He closely observes the causes of the presidents strong control over Serbian media and suggests several measures that may help to overcome this control.
Myanmar is a disinformation and hate speech hotspot: During the run-up to the elections on November 8, NGOs like the US Charter Center registered a significant increase of disinformation on Facebook. Now activists have started a Media Information Literacy program called “Just Ask” in cooperation with FNF Myanmar.
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”.