The decuplets

Posted on 22nd Jun 2021

It should have been a good story, a remarkable one even, a woman giving birth to a world record number of babies and they all survived. Instead, like the smell of fried fish, it clings, sullying more than just the media concerned. Some have said the story is indicative of the poor quality of our […]

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Deny, deny, deny

Posted on 17th Jun 2021

One striking aspect of disinformation is how seemingly patently unbelievable it is. Suggesting, for example, that Covid-19 isn’t real or deadly, or that the holocaust didn’t happen, are so far removed from reality it seems scarcely plausible that anyone would take them seriously. In previous pieces we have looked at the reasons that some people […]

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From ‘quacks’ to quackers, anti-vaxxers and banning Twitter

Posted on 9th Jun 2021

This week we look at some of the anti-vaccine complaints recently received. A common approach for anti-vaxxers is to stress how vaccines won’t work or how they have deadly side effects. This week, two of these examples were on show. In the first complaint we see an effort to give their fear mongering credibility. Quotes of Nobel […]

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Real411 combats disinformation – how exactly does it do this?

Posted on 2nd Jun 2021

The Real411 platform has been receiving complaints related to disinformation, hate speech, incitement to violence and harassment of journalists since March 2020. Over the past week or two, we have received a number of questions about how Real411 works, what happens once a complaint has been assessed and how credible the system is. We thought […]

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Trust and disinformation !

Posted on 24th May 2021

The Real411 platform has been receiving complaints related to disinformation, hate speech, incitement to violence and harassment of journalists, since March 2020. Since then, the platform has received just under 1,400 complaints, the majority of which have been in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.  The platform also receives complaints relating to a number of different […]

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Strange bedfellows: Covid fruit-cakery, and Politics

Posted on 19th May 2021

This past week we have had some disinformation reported that isn’t just bonkers, it’s like the clown from Stephen King’s It took hallucinogens. This is one of them. We noted in earlier pieces how one of the aspects about disinformation that makes it enticing is that it helps explain and reduce the complex into the simple, or into evil […]

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Behind the scenes!

Posted on 12th May 2021

It’s easy to feel disheartened about South Africa’s vaccination programme being so slow to get off the ground, not to mention the possibility of a third wave of Covid-19.  Far too often our government has had a poor relationship with helping us understand the basics. Communication has often been treated as useful only when it […]

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World Press Freedom Day and Disinformation

Posted on 5th May 2021

It was a big week for our media, appearing before the Zondo Commission we heard President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighting not only the critical role of the media in a democracy but also commending the Fourth Estate saying: “I will commend the role of the media; the media has played a phenomenal role in investigating State Capture, […]

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Fighting disinformation in the lead up to elections!

Posted on 28th Apr 2021

In the lead-up to elections, it is vital that we create awareness about disinformation and encourage everyone to report any instances of potential disinformation. Quality journalism and fact checks are essential tools for combating disinformation, but so too are: Accurate, consistent, clear communication from key stakeholders on all election-related matters; Building critical digital literacy skills […]

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Local government elections 2021: matters of choice

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Last week was even more unusual than normal – for one thing, we had our local election date – 27 October – announced some six months ahead of the actual polls. It’s the first time we can think of that we have known the date so far in advance. It may be to do with […]

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