Sanitize Fake News, Sanitize Your Mind, Cartoon Characters ‘Pandemic’ and ‘Infodemic’ Works Hand in Hand

By Abhismita Deka

Meet the two protagonists and cartoon characters Infodemic stating “the pandemic of fake news” and Pandemic “the coronavirus” said by Dr. Ankuran Dutta, Managing Trustee of Anamika Ray Memorial Trust (ARMT) and Head of Journalism and Communication Department at Gauhati Univesity in Assam. 

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There are two different projects, namely #CheckTheFake and COVID-Katha. #CheckTheFake, in collaboration with the Assam Tribune and Northeast Now, is a campaign against information disorder to create awareness on fake news which was a month-long campaign that took place in April and COVID-Katha is a multimedia guide carrying information on A-to-Z of COVID19. It is available in both English and Hindi. It was launched on 3rd May 2020. The advantage of COVID-Katha is that it is an interactive document. 

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“We’ve tried our best to create awareness among the people regarding the fake news” said Ankuran Dutta. The basic idea behind this campaign was media literacy and to stop the flow of fake information. With the spread of the pandemic COVID19, fake news also started doing rounds across the world creating confusion and panic among the people.

Through, News Sense, Dr. Ankuran Dutta has also appealed to the readers, not to share any sort of news until and unless it is verified or authentic because it may lead many to any untoward situation. As the cartoon strip shows, the Infodemic is spreading faster than the Pandemic, thus spreading misleading information among the larger mass with just one click.

Dr. Dutta has also said that it is even becoming impossible for WHO to control the risks of Pandemic and Infodemic together which was beautifully portrayed in one of the cartoon strips. As social distancing is a method to reduce the flow of the virus, the same way cross-check is a method to stop the flow of fake news. Two characters have introduced themselves in the best possible to spread awareness.

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