Lies in the time of COVID19 – III
With the spread of COVID-19 impacting the world, the United States Agency for Global Media and its networks have remained committed to providing accurate and unbiased information about the coronavirus, clarifying any misinformation, and exposing disinformation related to the pandemic.
VOA/RFA reported on inaccuracies regarding China’s COVID-19 timeline, the emergence of new cases, and the gradual re-opening of Wuhan despite public health concerns. One investigation questioned the claim that the very first cases in Beijing were detected in late December. However, there are indications that it might actually have been several weeks earlier.
RFA also recounted the release of the Henry Jackson Society report, which suggests that China may face trillions of dollars in international lawsuits. China’s failure to provide reliable information on the epidemic is a violation of its international treaty obligations.
Disinformation and Surveillance
RFE/RL’s reported on China’s and Russia’s implementation of disinformation and propaganda campaigns in response to COVID-19.
RFA covered Beijing’s crackdown on criticism regarding its handling of the pandemic, and on questions surrounding official case numbers.
Current Time TV’s Footage vs. Footage, continued to cover disinformation surrounding the pandemic, this week focusing on the President of Belarus who downplays the threat of the virus.
In North Korea, RFA reported that the country remains one of five that has yet to report a single confirmed case of COVID-19. The regime has made extensive efforts to prevent an outbreak in Pyongyang, but has warranted questions about the situation in the provinces.
OCB’s radio and Television Marti reported on the correspondence between the State Department and Havana regarding pressures to ease sanctions to allow for the purchase of medical equipment and supplies.
RFE/RL provided coverage of the potential removal of U.S. sanctions on Iran in response to COVID-19.
RFE/RL’s Tajik Service was the first to report on COVID-19’s spread in the country, while authorities continue to deny the existence of cases.
Alhurra reported on a study which that found COVID-19 could survive on cloth masks for up to seven days.
RFE/RL’s Persian Service Radio, Radio Farda, reported on the deepening of rifts amongst Iran’s domestic political leaders as the government neglects to impose a lockdown.
VOA365 reported on U.S. oversight groups calling for greater transparency on the impact of COVID-19 in Iran.
Obstructed Essential Travel
VOA Swahili shed light on 259 Comorian citizens stranded in Tanzania due to flight cancellations; the government has now begun the work of repatriation.
VOA’s Spanish Service drew attention to 62% of Venezuelan citizens who are unable to get to work due to lack of transportation.
RFA reported on 400 migrant workers from Myanmar, who are stranded near China’s border as Burmese officials blocked the main road.
VOA’s Spanish Service covered various citizen lead initiatives to help senior citizens in Caracas.
VOA Ukraine has continued to feature its new initiative, Heroes of Good Deeds.