‘Rumours are viruses too’: Mythbusters battle ‘infodemic’ in Middle East

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Lack of quality reporting in Arabic makes virus misinformation more dangerous. FMTNews

Malaysia News, Malaysia Headlines

With 75% penetration among internet users in the Middle East, misinformation is widely spread on WhatsApp. (Reuters pic)

“We correct the news and save lives,” said Baher Jassem, an Iraqi activist from the Tech 4 Peace collective, which switched from its four-year campaign against fake political and economic news to setting the record straight on Covid-19. Iraq’s daily case rate increase exploded to more than 2,000 in late June, nearing 3,000 per day this month.

Indeed, Reporters Without Borders has noted authorities’ tightening control over media in the Middle East in 2020, specifically over information relating to Covid-19. It’s no easy task given the Arabic language’s diverse dialects, said volunteer translator Issam Fawwaz, based in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.

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