Concerned with rampant misinformation in the media and society, the Embassy of Sweden in Pretoria, South Africa, hosted a virtual discussion under the theme: Caught In The Infodemic: How fact-checking can counter conspiracy theories.

Leading the discussions were Fojo Media Institute’s Annelie Frank and Lars Tallert, Andreas Önnerfors from Uppsala University and Kate Wilkinson from Africa Check.

Tallert told the conversation that we lived in a time of unprecedented challenges, but also of unprecedented possibilities as demonstrated by the internet and social media “better than anything else”. “We have all the knowledge in the world, just one fingertip click away.” However, he said, there was also an “endless flood of infodemic mix”, with hate speech, harassment and threats.

Fact-checking, and debunking this information is about setting the rules for a decent deliberative public discourse, of course, without limiting freedom of speech, (which is) more than necessary in a democracy”.

Fojo and Linnaeus University had programmes in Sweden Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern, Central Europe, South Asia, Southeast Asia, where infodemic and misinformation had been experienced. Infodemic presented a serious challenge that needed to be dealt with to “strengthen journalism for a democratic and sustainable world,” said Tallert.

Here’s the link to the entire conversation: