Facebook-supported programme to tackle Covid misinformation in India

(IANS) Logically and NewsMobile on Tuesday announced their collaboration on a Facebook-supported programme — a series of media literacy workshops — targeting Covid-19 misinformation in India.

The multi-lingual programme, called Covishaala, aims to educate and inform people across India on the facts about Covid-19 and vaccinations in an effort to reduce vaccine hesitancy and limit the spread of the disease.

The initiative forms part of Facebook’s global efforts to tackle Covid-19 misinformation on and off its platform. By investing in programmes such as Covishaala, the social media giant aims to improve media literacy skills among the general public and encourage take-up of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“This partnership is the latest step in our ongoing efforts to support fact-checkers and connect them with resources to stop the spread of Covid-19 and health misinformation,” Facebook India Director and Head of Partnerships, Manish Chopra, said in a statement.

Covishaala deploys a ‘Train the Trainer’ model, empowering influential professionals from various fields including medicine, education, and journalism with the tools and information they need to address the Covid-19 misinformation impacting their communities.

The workshops, delivered by experts at Logically and NewsMobile along with local journalists and the medical fraternity, includes guidance in various languages on how to spot misinformation, build media literacy skills, and identify trustworthy sources of information.

It also provides robust strategies to translate this knowledge into actionable advice, applicable and accessible to any audience in India.

“Too often, media literacy programmes do not reach those most in need, which is why Covishaala has been designed specifically to target those most vulnerable to false news, rumours and narratives,” Logically Founder and CEO Lyric Jain said.

“By empowering influential leaders and experts with the information and strategies they need to help people in their communities, we can make a demonstrable and scalable impact against damaging Covid-19 misinformation,” Jain added.

Covishaala held its first successful workshop in July this year and it was attended by professionals from Delhi, Gurgaon and Mumbai. It is now being rolled out across India over the next two months, and will undergo a full evaluation and impact assessment upon completion.

Both Logically and NewsMobile are signatories of the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles and have front-line expertise in delivering media literacy training and counter-misinformation operations.

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