Covid-19: Disinformation

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons on 4th June 2020.

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Photo of Jack Brereton Jack Brereton Conservative, Stoke-on-Trent South

What steps the Government are taking to tackle disinformation related to the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State

At this time of national crisis, accurate information is of course more important than ever. The cross-Whitehall counter-disinformation unit was stood up in March this year, and it provides a comprehensive picture of disinformation on covid-19 and works with partners to ensure that appropriate action is taken.

Photo of Jack Brereton Jack Brereton Conservative, Stoke-on-Trent South

I thank the Minister for her response. Does she agree that, while a number of national broadcasters and newspapers have undermined the coronavirus measures by constant reporting of rumours and opinions rather than fact, it is small local outlets such as the Sentinel in Stoke-on-Trent that have been invaluable in informing communities and ensuring that people are aware of the support available in their areas?

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Local broadcasters and newspapers such as the excellent Stoke Sentinel have played a key role during this crisis, sharing accurate information but also offering vital support to individuals and bringing communities together. That is why I am really pleased that they have been eligible to access most of the Government’s package of business support schemes.