Peace Talk Café, presented by Digital Khichuri Challenge, hosted an online discourse with the youth on misinformation and hoaxes surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, recently.
The discourse is arranged every quarter to expand the space for dialogues between the youth and speakers coming from diverse backgrounds. It is a part of UNDP's on-going Digital Khichuri Challenge, a youth engagement platform that aims to create a peaceful and inclusive society. For this edition, the talk focused on the unparalleled impacts of COVID-19 and how the spread of misinformation and hoaxes is heightening the issue.
Mohammad Abdul Quayyum, Head of Communications, UNDP, addressed the audience during the talk. "We are not just fighting an epidemic, we are also fighting an 'infodemic'. This infodemic is spreading as fast as the epidemic," he said. "We have an abundance of information across all channels, be it TV or social media, which presents us with a challenge. Getting the right information to the right person at the right time, is an aid. But misinformation can be dangerous and must be avoided at all costs."
Mohammad Nazmul Islam, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime, Dhaka Metropolitan Police spoke about fake news. "Identifying fake news is a rather technical process. However, in a nutshell, when you come across any suspicious news, cross-check at least 3 other sources, run a keyword search and, in case of images, run a reverse image search," he said. "We need to be more responsible in this regard."
Sakib Bin Rashid, Deputy Manager, BRAC, spoke about the lack of awareness amongst the masses. "When we see people sharing misinformation, we tend to ridicule them, instead of correcting them. We have to bring about an attitude change. For those who are not receptive to change, it is our responsibility to make them aware. Ridiculing them or not correcting them will contribute more to the problem," he said.
Peace Talk Café was attended by Bangladeshi youths from all over the world.