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Coronavirus: Misinformation

Question for Cabinet Office

UIN 2339, tabled on 17 May 2021

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to (a) tackle covid-19 misinformation amongst African communities in the UK and (b) provide accurate information in (i) Tigrinya, (ii) Amharic, (iii) Blen, (iv) Kibajuni, (v) KiSwahili, (vi) Tigre, (vii) Oromo, (viii) Afar, (ix) Sidayama, (x) Wolayatta, (xi) Hausa, (xii) Chichewa, and (xiii) Igbo.

Answered on

24 May 2021

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQs 144853 on 1 February 2021 and 161667 on 15 March 2021.

The Government is clear that targeting misinformation at any community is completely unacceptable. This is why the cross-Whitehall Counter Disinformation Unit was stood up on 5 March 2020. The Rapid Response Unit, operating from within the Cabinet Office and No10, also tackles a range of harmful narratives online - from purported ‘experts’ issuing dangerous misinformation, to criminal fraudsters running phishing scams.

We have been working with a wide range of faith groups to support vaccine confidence communication amongst different communities. Regarding African communities specifically, HMG has partnered with community news outlets including the African Voice over the course of the pandemic to address key points of concern and serve to provide reassurance within these communities.

Moreover, on 28 February, 60 black majority church leaders issued a joint statement in support of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. The Christian leaders united to ensure the community were kept informed, and to dispel misinformation and disinformation about the vaccine in response to data that shows black people are among those most likely to be hesitant about receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

Answered by

Cabinet Office