An English daily in Assam's Guwahati has been publishing a cartoon strip to tackle the fake news related to the coronavirus pandemic. The two central characters- "Pandemic and Infodemic"- are being used to create awareness among the masses.
"'Pandemic'is a coronavirus and 'Infodemic' is the disinformation disorder. Pandemic is depicted to be very confident that there is no antidote for it. The Infodemic character is overconfident, witty, and stubborn. It knows the tactics to bind people in its clutch," said Ankuran Dutta, who heads the Mass Communication and Journalism Department at Gauhati University. The comic strip is his brainchild.
The Anamika Ray Memorial Trust, a non-profit dedicated towards media and communication research, has produced a month-long series of cartoon strips that dismiss several misinformation campaigns.
"The Infodemic characters have been developed to look like the coronavirus to signify that it's an equally dangerous threat, and we used yellow colour to signify yellow journalism," Nituparna Rajbongshi, a noted cartoonist who has been part of the initiative, said.
It is not a fact-checking campaign. It is an initiative to create awareness against fake news. So far, the comic strip has highlighted misinformation related to hydroxychloroquine tablets, pension cut and hate campaigns.
"In last one month we got a lot of feedback, and I feel people are now much aware about the Infodemics," Sanjib Bora, who helped with the graphic design, told NDTV.
The comic strip appears in the Assam Tribune newspaper.