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.
COVID and Civil Rights
- Voice of America’s special section on Press Freedom reported on concerns in India that old and new laws are being used to pressure journalists who are critical with the national response to the pandemic.
- VOA also assessed the situation in the United States where many reporters covering the ongoing protests have been attacked or arrested by police. This week’s Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren looked at the potential impact that the recent protests may have on the pandemic in the United States.
- VOA Spanish journalist Gustavo Ocando received threats from Venezuelan officials following the publication of his piece on the treatment of COVID-19 patients in a Venezuelan hospital.
- Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported on the expansion of coronavirus-related surveillance systems following the lifting of the lockdown in Russia.
- Current Time reported on a civil rights group in Russia that has tracked around 200 criminal cases filed against Russian citizens for allegedly spreading false information about the pandemic, stating that the struggle against the pandemic is threatening freedom of speech in the country.
Correcting coronavirus misinformation
- VOA’s fact-checking service Polygraph checked claims that there were no delays or cover-ups in Wuhan, China following the initial outbreak of COVID-19.
- RFE/RL covered a new report released by the European Commission, insisting that online platforms step-up against disinformation regarding the pandemic. The report also accused Russia and China of seeking to undermine democratic debate and widen social polarization in the European Union.
- RFE/RL’s Russian network questioned President Putin’s claim that Russia is emerging from the pandemic with “minimal losses” and the motivating factors behind Russia’s decision to lift their lockdown.
- Radio Free Asia reported that health officials in China are considering banning any slander or defamation of traditional Chinese medicine, making the violation punishable by potential criminal charges. This consideration comes on the heels of a nationwide campaign by President Xi Jinping to include traditional herbal formulas to treat coronavirus.