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There is only one priority now: all national, European, and international resources are focused on containing the COVID-19 outbreak. The virus is spreading fast; hundreds of thousands are ill, thousands are dying. Lives depend on accurate and timely information. As Josep Borrell, head of the European External Action Service, said at a press conference earlier this week: “Disinformation is playing with people’s lives. Disinformation can kill.

This dangerous game has gone on for two months now. The first piece of disinformation we recorded on the coronavirus appeared in Russian state-funded Sputnik News on January 22nd. The narrative was in place from the beginning: the virus is man-made; a weapon created by NATO. With minor variations, we see the same claim repeated ad nauseam this week. The US constructed the virus; the Pentagon did it; the ruling elites… The purpose of this supposed fiendish scheme is to introduce world tyranny and secure American hegemony; third world countries – indeed anyone living south of the 40th parallel! – are the target of the Evil West.

 

Sowing Distrust

On the one hand, pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets claim that the outbreak is a hoax. On the other, they indulge apocalyptic scenarios, suggesting that due to the pandemic the Schengen system has collapsed, NATO will dissolve, the EU is paralysed, the Baltic states are doomed, there are no doctors in Lithuania, and Ukraine is in free fall. The entire project of “globalisation” is over! The coronavirus is the EU’s Chernobyl. But then the whiplash comes again: The virus is not dangerous at all. It can be cured with saline in four days, what’s the problem?

The problem is that the virus in fact cannot be “cured with saline”. Anyone following this advice risks not only their own health, but also the health – or worse, the lives – of other people.

Almost half of this week’s disinformation cases are devoted, in one way or another, to the COVID-19 outbreak. An overarching goal of this campaign is to sow distrust wherever possible: in the healthcare system (it’s controlled by Big Pharma to introduce mandatory vaccination!), national institutions (like in Sweden, where they are controlled by oligarchs), the EU (it’s just failing all in all), and the World Health Organisation (it’s an instrument of the government – what government, you ask? The shadow government!).

Meanwhile, the pro-Kremlin disinformation ecosystem parrots official claims about the situation in Russia being “under control” without going into much detail about this alleged achievement. The country has not fallen for the mistake known as “democracy”.

We Stand Together

The COVID-19 outbreak is a global challenge that needs to be addressed at all levels of society: we have a responsibility as individuals to make sure we don’t spread the virus and take care of each other. Municipalities, regions, and states all have obligations to secure medical services, take care of the weakest and most vulnerable among us, and maintain public order. Academia and the wider research community, the private sector, the EU, the UN, and other regional and international bodies all have their designated responsibilities and functions. In the end, the effectiveness of the global response boils down to trust and cooperation.

The Kremlin’s disinformation machine is seeking to undermine this essential solidarity at a time when disinformation can well and truly kill.

Stay up-to-date on EU measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak here. We stand together.

Other topics this week:

Stay healthy; don’t be deceived.


related disinfo cases

Date
Title
Outlets
Country
25.03.2020
  • fondsk.ru
US
24.03.2020
  • fondsk.ru
Sweden
24.03.2020
  • fondsk.ru
Lithuania
24.03.2020
  • fondsk.ru
US
24.03.2020
  • SouthFront - English
EU
23.03.2020
  • ren.tv
Ukraine
23.03.2020
  • Sputnik Arabic,
  • Katehon - English,
  • sahafah24,
  • africa-press.com,
  • nilenetonline.com,
  • albidda.net,
  • 6060news.com,
  • 3-arabi.com
Libya, Russia
23.03.2020
  • Information agency RES
Georgia
22.03.2020
  • Strategic Culture Foundation
US
22.03.2020
  • Komsomolskaya Pravda - Moldova
Moldova
22.03.2020
  • RT Arabic
US, Russia
22.03.2020
  • NTV
Slovakia, UK, Sweden, Germany, Ukraine
22.03.2020
  • Evrozona @ Vesti FM
EU, Italy, Germany
21.03.2020
  • News Front - YouTube, Russian
US
20.03.2020
  • SouthFront - English
Ukraine
20.03.2020
  • SouthFront - English
Ukraine
20.03.2020
  • SouthFront - English
Ukraine
20.03.2020
  • SouthFront - English
Ukraine
20.03.2020
  • Sputnik Greece
Greece, Russia
20.03.2020
  • rubaltic.ru,
  • RIAFAN - Russian
EU, USSR
19.03.2020
  • Iravunk.com
Armenia
19.03.2020
  • News Front - YouTube, Russian
China, US
19.03.2020
  • rubaltic.ru
Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia
19.03.2020
  • Vesti FM - YouTube
Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia
19.03.2020
  • Pervyi Kanal
China, India, Russia
19.03.2020
  • Geopolitica.ru - Italian
US
19.03.2020
  • Geopolitica.ru - Italian
China, Russia
18.03.2020
  • Verelq.am
Ukraine, Russia
18.03.2020
  • Sputnik France,
  • Sputnik France - YouTube
France
18.03.2020
  • SouthFront - English
Russia
18.03.2020
  • Livenews.am
China, Iran, Italy, France
18.03.2020
  • Sputnik Georgia - Russian
Germany
18.03.2020
  • RT English
Poland, Russia
18.03.2020
  • Medialeaks
China, US
17.03.2020
  • antifashist.com
Ukraine
17.03.2020
  • SouthFront - English
US
17.03.2020
  • SouthFront - English
China, US, Russia
17.03.2020
  • SouthFront - English
Venezuela, Cuba, China, US
17.03.2020
  • SouthFront - English
US
17.03.2020
  • asd.news,
  • News Front - Russian,
  • VK.com Resource
Ukraine
17.03.2020
  • Pandemya.ru
Sweden
17.03.2020
  • Sputnik Poland
Poland, Russia
17.03.2020
  • Geopolitica.ru - Italian
US
16.03.2020
  • News Front - YouTube, Russian
Georgia, US
16.03.2020
  • vz.ru,
  • nahnews.org,
  • RIAFAN - Russian
The Netherlands, Ukraine, Russia
16.03.2020
  • Tsargrad TV
China, US
16.03.2020
  • rubaltic.ru
China, Italy, US, Lithuania, Estonia, Baltic states, Russia, Latvia
16.03.2020
  • Progressnews,
  • cont.ws
China, US
16.03.2020
  • rubaltic.ru
Lithuania, Baltic states
15.03.2020
  • Antikor
Ukraine, Russia
15.03.2020
  • Rossia 24 - YouTube
Denmark, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Lithuania
14.03.2020
  • Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Norway, Russia
14.03.2020
  • Sputnik Czech
China
13.03.2020
  • SouthFront - English
Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland
12.03.2020
  • Sputnik English
The Netherlands, Russia
12.03.2020
  • Sputnik Spain
China, Iran, US
12.03.2020
  • Sputnik Spain
US
12.03.2020
  • Sputnik Spain
US
11.03.2020
  • Georgia and the World,
  • Moscow - Third Rome,
  • inform-relig.ru
US
11.03.2020
  • Sputnik Germany
Ukraine, Russia
10.03.2020
  • News Front - Hungarian
Australia, Belgium, The Netherlands, Ukraine
09.03.2020
  • News Front - German
China, US
07.03.2020
  • Teleskop
Belarus, Ukraine, Russia
06.03.2020
  • Sputnik Italia
US, Russia
04.03.2020
  • Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Lithuania, Russia
03.03.2020
  • RT Spanish
US
03.03.2020
  • Sputnik Poland
Poland, Belarus, Russia
03.03.2020
  • Georgia and the World
Georgia
01.03.2020
  • Sputnik Poland
Czech Republic
29.02.2020
  • Rossia 24 - YouTube
Russia
26.02.2020
  • Geopolitica.ru - Italian
Syria, US
21.02.2020
  • Pervyi Kanal
Ukraine, Russia
19.02.2020
  • RT Arabic
Germany, Russia
25.01.2020
  • News Front - German
China, US