Published on 12 Jul 2021

Fake news shifts to S'pore govt Covid-19 policies, mainstream news helps correct misinformation: Study

The Straits Times online, 12 Jul -

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Fake news related to the pandemic is no longer focused on science and health issues. Instead, such reports spread half-truths and confusion about government policies that were adopted to combat Covid-19. And mainstream news outlets have been shown to play an increasing role in fighting this type of misinformation.

This is according to the findings of a recent study by NTU that was released on Monday (July 12). The study additionally showed that reports correcting misinformation on government measures provided more complete explanations than those addressing misinformation on science and health issues.

Prof May Lwin, the lead author of the study, said that mainstream news media “can play a crucial role in the timely dissemination of misinformation correction and prevent people from being hoodwinked and acting on potentially harmful misinformation”. This is due to mainstream media’s social importance, wide reach, and role as a credible information source to the public during uncertain times, she said. “It is important to combat the propagation of misinformation, which can undermine key public health communication efforts and worsen the strain on public health systems,” said Prof Lwin, who is also chair of NTU’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI).