UN chief: World faces misinformation epidemic about coronavirus

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Tuesday that the world is facing “a dangerous epidemic of misinformation” about COVID-19 and announced a UN campaign to flood the internet with facts and science to counter what he called “a poison” that is putting lives at risk.

The UN chief decried what he described as a global “misinfo-demic” that is spreading harmful health advice, “snake-oil solutions,” falsehoods, and wild conspiracy theories.

Guterres urged social media organizations to do more to counter the misinformation and to “root out hate and harmful assertions about COVID-19.”

“Hatred is going viral, stigmatizing and vilifying people and groups,” he said in a video statement. “Mutual respect and upholding human rights must be our compass in navigating this crisis.”

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The UN chief said people around the world “are scared” and want to know what to do and where to turn for advice, and they need science.

The secretary-general saluted “journalists and others fact-checking the mountain of misleading stories and social media posts.”

He called for trust in science and in institutions “grounded in responsive, responsible, evidence-based governance and leadership.”

“Together, let’s reject the lies and nonsense out there,” Guterres said. “With common cause for common sense and facts, we can defeat COVID-19 -- and build a healthier, more equitable, just and resilient world.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:06 - GMT 07:06
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