Broadcasting watchdog recommends radio and TV stations to stop Coronavirus-related fake news

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After the alarming increase of Coronavirus infections in Romania, the Government’s Strategic Communication Group has asked the National Audiovisual Council (CNA) to recommend radio and TV stations not to promote the conspiracy theories that encourage people not to believe in the existence of the novel Coronavirus.

PM Ludovic Orban stated yesterday that many Romanians had been tricked that the novel coronavirus does not exist or that the risk of infection is too low than in reality, accusing that some politicians and influencers, particularly ones closed to PSD, are responsible for this situation.

“Various theories are rumoured that deny the existence of the virus or of the infection danger, either by minimising it, or that COVID0-19 is just a simple flu, or that the protection and prevention measures are exaggerated or that the official information on the number of infected people would not be real or distorted on purpose,” reads a letter sent by the Government to CNA.

The Executive underlined that it doesn’t want to constrain the freedom of speech and the right to have an opinion, but warned that some approaches of the audiovisual mass media had become “dangerous”, for it “had borrowed hostile deterrent narratives, used in misinformation campaigns promoted through some online outlets that have not assumed identity”.

Following the Government’s requests, CNA has issued a recommendation to the radio and TV stations, asking them “to counter the conspiracy theories that can jeopardize the human health and which harm the social cohesion”.

CNA also recommended the audiovisual mass media to “broadcast only official information, from reliable national and international sources, in order to contribute to countering the contamination of the audience with fake news from social media.” CNA also asked the broadcasters to check any information related to COVID-19.

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