COVID-19 Contagion Spike Fuelled by disinformation campaigns in Romania.
Countries across Europe are facing an upsurge in COVID-19 infections as restrictions were lifted. However, in Romania, a contagion spike is being fuelled by disinformation campaigns. According to Raed Arafat, head of the Romanian government’s Department for Emergency Situations, these campaigns include practices that range from online articles and social media posts, to attacking government officials who publicly warn the population about what to do. Arafat also explained that some of these practices are part of well-financed campaigns from some who profit from appearing publicly to defy official recommendations. Corina Rebegea, director of democratic resilience at the Center for European Policy Analysis, argued that Russia’s media organisation Sputnik and several ultra-nationalist and anti-vaccination groups in Romania have been promoting conspiracy theories about the virus since the onset of the pandemic. However, Rebegea also turns to opposition politicians, media and commentators who are amplifying online disinformation about the coronavirus in order to damage the government.