As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread around the world, another virus, albeit not a pathogen, has emerged. This is the virus of disinformation, a tool often used by authoritarian and rogue governments to try and sow confusion among their adversaries at home and abroad. As we have seen, U.S. and European efforts to clamp down on disinformation spread by the likes of Russia and China has been met with mixed results.
McCain Institute Next Generation Leader Leon Hernandez has been engaged in this battle in his home country of Venezuela. There, the regime of Nicolas Maduro has used misinformation and fake news to deflect from his inadequate response to the virus’s impact on the Venezuelan people. Launching daily reports on specific cases of spreading fake news, Leon and his organization, Observatorio Venezolano de Fake News, has detected more than 600 individual cases of deliberate fake news since its June 2019 launch.
However, with the coronavirus taking aim at the already-ailing Venezuelan people, his work (now from home) is more important than ever. Not only has Leon been at the forefront of identifying misinformation, he has also been speaking out about how everyday citizens can recognize it for themselves. For more, check out theObservatorio Venezolano de Fake News on Twitter, and visit its website.