Islamabad, 22 March 2020 – Talha Akhtar:
In a time of global pandemic, when people are self isolating and any information they find on the novel coronavirus is read twice and passed on to their loved ones – every news piece holds immense weightage. And if the news piece is not explained well or released by an authentic source, chances are it will be interpreted in more ways than one, causing panic and chaos amongst the people. Hence it is advised to do a thorough fact check before circulating it any further.
One such case surfaced recently where a random circular was passed around on social media with the title UNICEF and a couple of statements under it that talked about what coronavirus is, the causes and prevention. Avoid ice cream and cold food as it may cause coronavirus is what one of the points stated. People believed it and re-shared it mostly because of its association with a global organisation. Little did they know, it was fake.
Soon after, UNICEF Pakistan and World Health Organisation, the two biggest global entities working towards public health released a statement denying these claims about ice cream and cold food by posting the same image with fake written in bold red and the caption saying ‘beware of misinformation’.
Not knowing something is better than having the wrong information, especially at a time like this when people are practicing social distancing and heavily dependant on digital media. It has also been emphasized to refrain from spreading misinformation, baseless facts and instead look out for one another, be there for our loved ones in this time of global crisis.