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Pandemic and misinformation in Peru

A candidate for the Presidency, the head of the electoral tribunal and professors of communication condemned the use of fake news and other excesses that tend to intensify during the ongoing electoral process in Peru.


The subject was approached from different angles and in different circumstances by the progressive candidate for the Presidency, Verónika Mendoza; the head of the National Elections Jury (JNE), Jorge Salas, and the community of Communication and Journalism teachers of the Universidad Católica.

Mendoza condemned racist, sexist and homophobic messages and the dissemination of fake news that threatens the health of the population and pointed out the need for the State to put limits on the media that misinform the Peruvian people and puts their lives at risk in this regard.

“I think we have to set some clear limits, there are some forms of media that are clearly misinforming on the issue of the pandemic and the vaccine in a perverse way, putting people’s health and lives at risk,” argued the candidate of the left-wing party Together for Peru (JP).

Mendoza defends freedom of expression, but says that when citizens are put at risk, we must put the brakes on, because “the State has to take care of the health and lives of its citizens”.

She specifically referred to a fake news story that recently denied the efficacy of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine acquired by the country, affecting the vaccination campaign against the coronavirus.

“Isn’t it reprehensible that some journalists are spreading anti-scientific information in an absolutely irresponsible way?”

For his part, the head of the JNE affirmed the fake news released by candidates against their rivals and pointed out that the practice has been extended to attacking the electoral authorities.

Fake news affects the different actors in the electoral process in Peru, despite the efforts of the Tribunal de Honor del Pacto Ético Electoral  (Electoral Ethical Honour Pact Tribunal) and the commitments signed to carry out a clean campaign. The problem of fake news as an electoral weapon intensely used in the United States and other countries was addressed by Salas in an international forum on the subject that brought together electoral authorities and experts from Brazil.

For its part, the teaching community of the Faculty of Communication Arts and Sciences of the Universidad Católica denounced the spread of rumours and false versions of the press that promote disinformation in the midst of a health emergency.

Such fake news, “based on speculation or falsehoods and without a documented basis to support them, have been repeatedly and emphatically denied by qualified sources,” he adds.

The declaration warns that the wave of disinformation is, however, continuing to spread on Internet social networks and a media group and certain political actors sow distrust about the mass vaccination process initiated to stop the pandemic. According to the professors, disinformation becomes more dangerous in the context of a decisive electoral process for the future of the country and therefore disinformation, propagated by television programmes and characters with interests unrelated to journalism, provokes “our deepest concern, criticism and rejection”. (PL)

(Translated by Hannah Phelvin) – Photos: Pixabay

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