COVID-19: Check the facts

In the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic, misinformation, also referred to as fake news has been circulated in various media, in particular, social media. This has contributed to widespread panic, speculation and confusion in dealing with matters to do with preventing and containing this global pandemic. Check the facts to make sure you are getting the right information from the right sources.

Working with Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services and The Perch Media Trust UNESCO ROSA, is disseminating fact-checking guidelines to ensure the public receive the right information on COVID-19.

Consider the source

To identify misinformation, firstly check the credibility of the source. For instance, follow the web links to the story’s website to see the sites credentials such as not for profit organisation, a blog, a recognised organisation such as a UN agency etc.

Supporting sources

Click on supporting sources to see where the information is emanating from and whether the sources provide evidence based information. Consult multiple sources before considering information as factual.

Check the author

Investigate the author by looking at whether they are a known author, do they have a credible site they write for and are they real. 

Check the date

Look at the date of the story or information; old news stories may not be relevant to current events.

Read beyond headlines

Headlines can be misleading to capture readers’ attention therefore read beyond the headline. Continue reading to understand what the full story is under the headline.

Is it a joke?

Check if the information is a “joke”, satirical or factual. 

Check your biases

As individuals, we hold various prejudices therefore, it is important to check your own biases when looking at information. Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgement of the information you are taking in.

Ask the experts

Whenever possible ask the experts in the field such as health care workers, researchers, librarians or check fact-checking websites. 

Let us continue to work together to fight COVID-19 and remember to practise the recommended behaviours such as washing hands regularly and staying at home to minimise the spread of COVID-19.