Disinformation—false statements and images that have been intentionally manufactured—is a particularly virulent form of misinformation that can spread faster and with even more destruction.

  • Disinformation that is being “transmitted globally at warp speed on the technology platforms, was “a major threat not just to the mainstream media, but to the lives and well-being of tens of millions of people and the safety and integrity of society as a whole.
  • The recent UNHRC report noted that “Disinformation” is false information disseminated intentionally to cause serious social harm.


BRICS Media Forum

  • Representatives of media organisations from BRICS called for the five nations to work together to jointly combat the “virus of disinformation” in the pandemic era.
  • A common thread was a growing problem of disinformation or ‘fake news’.
  • The pandemic had only reinforced the needs of the countries to step up, rather than shun cooperation.
  • The BRICS Media Forum can make a real difference in the fight against disinformation by promoting and strengthening relevant media exchanges, workshops and training of journalists.



  • Posting false news can create panic among the public and disturb social tranquillity.
  • In uncertain times, emotions can take a greater role than they should in our decision-making process.
  • Feelings of fear and anxiety can also inhibit our natural ability to detect what is true and what is false.
  • One extreme example reported by BBC News reveals that 16 Iranians died from poisoning after false rumours spread that drinking alcohol would help prevent people getting the COVID-19 virus.
  • Disinformation is a threat to the good functioning of democracy and an opportunity for those who can politically or financially gain from disinformation.
  • The COVID-19 crisis has amplified misinformation and disinformation on social media and has created new opportunities for violent non-state actors.
  • While social media companies have increased their vigilance and labelling of false information, they still have a long way to go.


Way Forward

  • It is important for news to be instantaneous, and it is equally important to remember that false news is dangerous.
  • The strongest weapon against disinformation is our common sense.
  • European education systems provide some sort of critical thinking learning objectives as part of the citizenship education curriculum in schools.
  • There is evidence that media literacy initiatives at school tend to lessen children’s vulnerability to disinformation.
  • Specialised fact-checking organisations can be supplemented by technological solutions, with the deployment of technologies like AI, in the fight against disinformation.
  • Awareness campaign on social media platforms for the users not to upload or circulate any false news or misinformation.
  • Study from the UK showed that during a disease outbreak, reducing the amount of harmful advice being circulated by just 10 percent resulted in fewer people getting sick with the disease.
  • India needs to make a law on data protection as soon as possible on the lines of Europe’s General Data Protection Regime.