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Experts’ Opinions | The Rise of Fake news in Global Development. Consequences & solutions

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COVID-19 has led to a parallel pandemic of disinformation that directly impacts lives and livelihoods around the world. According to UNESCO, the impacts of COVID-19 disinformation are more deadly than disinformation about other subjects such as politics and democracy. We asked the opinions of several media and communications experts regarding what the long-term consequences of this fake news could be and asked them to offer some possible solutions.

What are the main consequences of this rise in fake news? 

“In Africa, the most trusted sources of information about the disease are the media and government medical experts. Fake news is being disseminated through social media channels and they are using bogus government medical staff as masqueraders who give fake information about the virus. The fake news generated on social media is to some extent finding its way on mainstream media. Fake news has led to confusion on the virus and subsequently distrust for experts. Some countries take a proactive approach to dispel fake news whilst others are taking a wait-and-see approach. As the continent grapples with fake news, not only are the actual cases of the epidemic rising, so are the fatalities.”

Alison Ngibuini, Development Communication Expert