The Internet is an integral part of the modern lifestyle. Thousands of news articles are being published from numerous news portals and websites from all over the world everyday. And social media is abound with unverified information. Often those information turns out to be misleading or even false, some of them are spread purposefully and some are without any intention. Since covid-19 has hit the globe, rumours related to this pandemic have outspread like never before. Amids the ‘infodemic', BD FactCheck, a fact-checking initiative based in Dhaka, has been working round the clock debunking health misinformation.
When WHO, health experts and state authorities of all nations have raised their utmost concern over this infodemic, BD FactCheck has occupied its full force on dealing with misinformation and creating awareness among the mass omnipresent in the virtual world.
In the last 10 months, BD FactCheck being the first such initiative in Bangladesh, has already debunked more than 150 rumours and fake news related to covid-19. Most of them are mainly rolled out in Facebook and Youtube but a good number of these misinformation originated from local mainstream media outlets. For instance, false quotes from Italian Prime Minister’s speech on covid-19, and a baseless claim that a Japanese scientist said Covid-19 was a man-made disaster, were circulated through media outlets. In 2020, BD FactCheck has marked more than three hundred pieces of misinformation so far. Furthermore, They have been publishing varieties of multimedia content promoting media literacy for the general people in the country.
BD FactCheck’s official page in facebook has set its foots on the landmark of 70 thousands followers connecting readers to keep them updated about trending rumors on a daily basis. Besides, it maintains a website (www.bdfactcheck.com) where one can get all the fact-checking articlesit has investigated so far.
Qadaruddin Shisir, one of the co-founders and Chief Editor of BD FactCheck thinks they are in a never ending battle against misinformation. He extends, “wherever we find any doubtful or misleading claim, be it in social media or news media, we first attempt to verify them. Then we publish the actual facts with relevant proofs. Our only mission is to safeguard the society from unverified and false hearsays”.
He also asserts, “we always endeavor to work negating the boundaries of political, personal and other specified views. Nonetheless, the readers will evaluate whether we are on the right track or not. But we seek highest strive to keep our works neutral”
BD FactCheck has been collaborating with UNDP Bangladesh along with some other national and international development organizations like Fojo Media Institute, MRDI etc. It successfully implemented projects related to Covid-19 misinformation in 2020. BD FactCheck organized training for young journalists to build their capacity in fighting misinformation.