Disinformation about COVID-19 spreads in Central Asia

Experts explain that disinformation about COVID-19 is now widespread in Central Asia. Because of poor attempts from Governments to tackle this issue, countries that already had restrictions to freedom of speech now also face an increase in public distrust. Combining regional media and social networks Pavel Bannikov, the chief editor of the Kazak branch of Factcheck.kz, found over 1,300 examples of fake news in a two-month period. Apparently the most widespread fake news were about religion. Lola Islamova, Chief editor of the Uzbekistan news portal Anhor.uz, confirmed this trend. Islamova highlighted that in Muslim-majority countries, news claiming that their faith will protect them from the virus are very popular. In the case of Turkmenistan, the country banned the term coronavirus from public discourse altogether.