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DCMS Committee Chair welcomes urgent action to tackle misinformation about Covid-19

Posted on: April 16, 2020 by Mariella Brown

DCMS Chair Julian Knight MP has welcomed actions being taken by broadcasting regulator Ofcom to deal with misinformation about the coronavirus.

Chief Executive Dame Melanie Dawes said the regulator was prioritising all Covid-19-related complaints and investigations following a rise in broadcast standards complaints. Its own research identified that almost half of online adults in the UK said they had been exposed to false claims about Covid-19 in a single week.

The broadcasting regulator confirmed that it was carrying out a number of investigations into the Chinese state-backed news organization Global China Television Network over impartiality, fairness and privacy.

DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP (pictured above) said: “I welcome Ofcom’s decision to expedite its investigations into the David Icke interview on London Live, and Eamonn Holmes’ comments about 5G on ITV. It is reassuring to hear that the Chinese GCTN broadcaster is also being investigated.

“The fact that nearly half of online adults in the UK reported being exposed to false claims about the coronavirus in a single week is evidence that we cannot let up in this battle to stamp out dangerous narratives.

“The DCMS Committee will be examining attempts to spread falsehoods about COVID-19 whether through misinformation or disinformation and will be rigorous in demanding action to deal with those responsible.”

The DCMS Online Harms and Disinformation Sub-committee is currently accepting evidence about examples of disinformation and misinformation on social media about the novel coronavirus, Covid-19 as part of its inquiry.