On June 25, 2021, Global Ties KC hosted a group of six Brazilian journalists for their final IVLP session on Media Responsibility in an Age of Disinformation. The journalists joined Steven Youngblood, professor and director of the Center for Global Peace Journalism at Park University, for a wide-ranging round table discussion of their role in spotting and fighting fake news.
Many of the participants have been involved in providing coverage of COVID-19, as well as investigating and reporting on Brazil’s government and politics. In conversation with Mr. Youngblood, they acknowledged that Brazil and the United States face similar struggles against fake news in traditional media and on social media platforms. Websites often disguise themselves as reputable sources and circulate stories that exaggerate or remove truthful information from its proper context. Journalists must navigate their responsibility to report on politicized issues without bias while making sure stories do not bolster disinformation efforts.
Mr. Youngblood also shared an analysis of trends in the spread of disinformation in Brazil during the COVID crisis. Messages spread by individuals, news media, and even prominent government officials have intended to minimize the severity of the disease, discredit the social isolation measures intended to mitigate the course of the disease’s spread, and increase the distrust of public data. In addition to sharing several verification tools, Mr. Youngblood conveyed the importance of educating the public on how to use critical thinking to detect fake news for themselves.