Disinformation and conspiracy theories caused by the COVID-19 pandemic pose a threat as they often target and discriminate against vulnerable groups, ignore scientific evidence and polarize society with serious consequences. To address this issue, UNESCO in cooperation with the European Commission, Twitter and the World Jewish Congress launched the online campaign aimed to raise awareness of the existence and consequences of conspiracy theories linked to the COVID-19 crisis.
Conspiracy theories cause real harm to people, to their health, and also to their physical safety. They amplify and legitimize misconceptions about the pandemic, and reinforce stereotypes which can fuel violence and violent extremist ideologies.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay
As part of the online campaign, UNESCO introduced a series of easily accessible and comprehensive visual learning resources. The produced materials help individuals and communities to learn how to identify, debunk, react to and report on conspiracy theories to prevent their spread.
The resources are open access and free to be used, downloaded and shared. They are available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. The resources complement the work of UNESCO on media and information literacy (MIL) and related educational graphics produced by the Organization in response to COVID-19.
The UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE), as a part of UNESCO education team, also plays an active role in supporting the development of MIL competencies among people through a number of relevant projects.