The EU is tackling an “infodemic” of coronavirus misinformation. From fake cures to people trying to burn down 5G towers, false information can have real-world consequences. Indeed, the European Commission has accused China and Russia of spreading COVID-19 misinformation as a way to destabilise Europe.
What do our readers think? We had a comment come in from Corinne, who quotes approvingly the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) as having said: ‘Fake news spreads faster and more easily than this virus, and is just as dangerous’. Is that right? And, if so, why is fake news so dangerous?
To get a response, we spoke to Daniel Braun, Deputy Head of Cabinet for EU Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová. His portfolio includes countering disinformation and ‘fake news’, so what would he say?
Next up, we had a comment from Antonio, who thinks “we should invest in education for the next generation. In this way, they will be ‘immunised’ from these types of propaganda.” Ultimately, is media literacy the only effective way to fight misinformation?
We put Antonio’s comment to Lia Quartapelle, a Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies with the centre-left Democratic Party (and one of Friends of Europe’s European Young Leaders). She was speaking at an online event held by the Atlantic Council and Friends of Europe on the impact of foreign information operations in Europe. What would she say to Antonio?
Is ‘fake news’ putting lives at risk? Why is fake news so dangerous? And is media literacy the only effective way to fight back against online propaganda? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!