NGO Detector Media, the member of WG1 UNP, implemented the project “Truth and Fiction About the Coronavirus” with support EaP CSF COVID-19 mitigation grant during 1 December 2020 – 28 February 2021.

The infodemia that accompanies the coronavirus pandemic proves that media hygiene is no less important than general hygiene to save lives. The “Truth and Fiction About the Coronavirus” project aims at analysing and countering dis- and misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, which is spread in the media and social media. To protect Ukrainian media consumers from COVID-19-related disinformation and motivate them to follow the quarantine rules, Detector Media has launched a special section ‘Truth and Fiction about the Coronavirus” to counter disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. Detector Media fills the section with news, analytical articles and materials that encourage media consumers to use only quality information and adhere to best practices of social behaviour during a pandemic. The purpose of this section is to help the media consumer navigate the information chaos, debunk the widespread fakes and encourage the media to be more responsible while covering the pandemic.

The first activity was monitoring and analysing Ukrainian information environment in order to identify fakes related to COVID-19. Within the project, 6 waves of monitoring were conducted. It resulted in 6 publications explaining and after debunking fakes related to coronavirus. The most popular article “Dead nurses, slaves and paralysis” reached over 12 000 views. Based on the monitoring results, 10 infographics explaining myths and debunking fakes about coronavirus were produced. Also, every two weeks we created video-explainers for social media debunking main fakes.

Another activity of the project is filling the “Truth and Fiction about Coronavirus” section on Detector Media and Media Sapiens web-portals with news and materials, encouraging media consumers to use only high-quality information and adhere to best practices of social behaviour during a pandemic and sharing correct information, as well as encouraging media for responsible reporting about COVID-19.

For three months, the project reached over 560 000 people, in particular, media and journalists especially in the region and the general public. It includes the unique visitors of “Truth and Fiction about Coronavirus” section, social media indicators (Facebook and Telegram). It got positive feedback from the target audience as the amount of readers was sustainably growing throughout the project. In fact, for three months of the project the “Truth and Fiction about Coronavirus” section reached over 262 000 views. The project was popular also on social media pages of the organisation: posts on Facebook were shared over 250 times.