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Premier Needs Strategy for Tackling COVID-19 Misinformation

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Tags: COVID-19, Health

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson 

Flyers promoting COVID-19 conspiracy theories have been dropped into Tasmanian letterboxes, highlighting the need for a Government strategy to deal with coronavirus misinformation.

Hobart residents have reported receiving expensive colour flyers that promote incorrect and potentially dangerous medical advice, and undermine the need for a coronavirus vaccine and prevention measures.

The flyers, which peddle a range of falsehoods, were distributed by the ‘New Federal State of China’, which is funded by the US Steve Bannon War Room, amongst others. They look to be part of a well-financed concerted campaign of distortions and lies.

With the COVID-19 pandemic far from over, community confidence in public health advice, and vigilance in prevention practices, is critical.

Public trust is the essential ingredient for people to follow regulations, and to get tested for coronavirus symptoms.

This flyer is the worst seen so far in Tasmania, but other misinformation has been circulating in the community with increasing frequency. 

There’s a delicate balance between giving oxygen to an inaccurate message, and allowing it to spread in the community unchecked. We urge the Government to develop a strategy to respond to targeted misinformation, rather than dealing with matters on an ad-hoc basis. 

To keep Tasmanians safe, and to give them peace of mind, we urge the Gutwein Government to tackle the issue of coronavirus misinformation head on.