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COMMENT | The Covid infodemic: To err is human, to share is criminal?

Harris Zainul

Published
Modified 14 Oct 2020, 4:56 am

COMMENT | By now, Covid-19 is a worrying fact of life. Also a fact of life is how the onset of the pandemic has brought about a sense of nervousness, anxiety and concern among the general public.

At times like these, the public craves information they feel would allow them to stay safe and healthy. Taking this to its natural extension is that the people would only want to seek out and share information with their loved ones if they feel it could be beneficial for them, too. In other words, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

What is regrettable, however, is that it is coinciding with what the World Health Organisation (WHO) has deemed to be the “infodemic”. This refers to a situation where there is “an overabundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it”.

The above together essentially means at a time when people crave information and would want to pass on that seemingly credible information, there is an overabundance of potentially false news and facts out there. Considering this, the government’s strategy to deter would-be creators of false information by warning and prosecuting those who create false information tend to miss the mark.

Generally, this is because aside from cases of genuine bad apples in society...

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