This month journalists and fact-checkers in India have encountered videos and images related to the Taliban taking over power in Afghanistan after 20 years of conflict.
In India, vaccine hesitancy poses a risk to ending the Covid-19 pandemic. According to latest figures shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 342 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine and 93 million have been fully vaccinated until July 26, 2021. That’s about 25% and 6% of the population in India, respectively. Wide variations in the vaccination strategy across states are keeping India from achieving a desirable vaccination rate. Supply shortages in many states have left millions of people vulnerable to the virus. In addition to vaccines running out, fears and rumours about the vaccine have resulted in delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccination. Misinformation on social media and messaging platforms about the vaccine causing infertility, serious side effects or even death has been circulating widely even before the vaccination programme rolled out in the country. Other reasons for refusal of vaccines include disbeliefs among people that coronavirus is spreading in their area and that they can be infected by the virus.
In the previous week Ekta addressed misinformation around various topics such as COVID-19 vaccine, politics and elections. While misinformation often follows the newscycle, there is also sporadic and region specific misinformation. In this blogpost we bring you top fact-check reports and deep dives picked by EKTA editors from the previous week.
Ekta is a consortium of six Indian fact-checking groups to address misinformation in a collaborative manner. All the groups which include, AFP Fact Check, BOOM Live, Factly, India Today Fact Check, Vishvas News and WebQoof, have also been running WhatsApp tiplines as part of the platform’s third party fact-checking program.
The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that hit India between April-May 2021has been more fatal and faced more complexities than the first wave. Even as the country was struggling to control daily infections and deaths, yet another deadly infection, Mucormycosis (black fungus) in patients treated for COVID-19, created a real scare among people.
In the aftermath of election results being declared in the state of West Bengal in India, the state witnessed multiple incidents of post-poll violence. While this unfolded, social media was rife with messages condemning the violence and criticizing the Trinamool Congress, the party that won the election, for the incidents. However, several images and videos shared in these messages were old, unrelated and used out-of-context.
As several hospitals in the country faced an oxygen shortage, misleading messages were doing rounds on social media that a homeopathic medicine Aspidosperma is a substitute for oxygen for COVID-19 patients.
As India saw a second wave of COVID-19 infections in India, several hospitals faced a shortage of oxygen. Amidst this alarming situation, viral posts on social media claimed Delhi and Maharashtra governments to have failed to install oxygen power plants despite receiving funds from the central government from the PM CARES Fund.
A viral claim that COVID-19 is a cover-up for deaths due to radiations from 5G network towers has made a comeback. In 2020 this claim was in circulation around March, in the early stages of the pandemic. This claim was debunked by fact-checking organizations at that time as well.
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