Throughout history, communication management has been a common phenomenon, false news is not a recent event. However, with the appearance of the pandemic, an “infodemic” has also emerged. In the words of journalism professionals, this phenomenon affects health information and spreads through massive channels such as social networks.
In the forum “Get vaccinated against the disinformation virus”, organized this morning by the EFE Agency and the Camilo José Cela University (UCJC) of Madrid, the CSIC researcher and director of the team that is developing the Spanish anti-covid vaccine, Vicente Larraga, has pointed out that “there is a flagrant contradiction” between what appears in scientific publications and what is broadcast on social and communication media.
Why does some information appear in the media and other not?
The scientist has stated that “someone is pulling the strings”, motivated in his opinion by economic interests, so that the adverse effects of some vaccines and not so much of other companies are known.
In this way, the rector of the UCJC, Emilio Lora-Tamayo, has requested “greater media literacy” to stop the “avalanche” of hoaxes that are transmitted in society and there is “a healthy skepticism of uncertainty.”
The vice-rector for Research, Science and Doctorate of this institution, Francisco López, has corroborated this need, since “in Spain 2 out of 3 people” who seek information on vaccination against covid do so on social networks.
Contrast in times of «infodemic»
EFE Verifica journalist Ramiro Fuente has detailed how these false news began with the simple formula of ‘die after being vaccinated’ and have become more sophisticated over time with the aim of boycotting the vaccination campaign.
One of the most recent hoaxes spread on the Facebook platform is that health personnel may be tried for war crimes, something that EFE Verifica has denied because vaccination “is not a crime but a safe and effective public health service” and there is no text in international law that supports this accusation.
Regarding the doubt that the researcher Larraga has raised about the contradiction between information, the radio journalist has responded that the “commercial war” of the pharmaceutical companies has also reached the “official sources”.
For this reason, Ramiro Fuente has highlighted that the verification work in times of «infodemic» is a “laborious and necessary task”, different from the fast pace of the traditional trade and that it entails “consulting many sources” to contrast all the information with various data .
The Camilo José Cela University, as part of the SEK Educational Institution, has signed an agreement with the EFE Agency to promote training initiatives around the phenomenon of misinformation and journalistic verification.