Combating misinformation, fear and stigma in response to the Covid-19 outbreak: An international collaboration between Canada and Singapore

Fahim, Christine | $499,965

Ontario Unity Health Toronto 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a pneumonia-like illness (previously ‘coronavirus’ and now named Covid-19) a public health emergency of international concern. In past months, misinformation about the outbreak rapidly spread, sparking fear and stigmatization of Chinese, Asian and other communities in Canada and abroad. We will conduct this study in partnership with the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice (CCNC-SJ) and the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO), which are advocacy organizations aiming to reduce stigma and racism facing the Chinese-Canadian community. We have also partnered with the Yee Hong Centre in Canada and researchers and government officials in Singapore to explore how cultural and political contexts impact misinformation, stigma and fear. We will conduct a social media analysis to understand Canadian and Singaporean local and federal governments’ response to Covid-19 and the public’s reaction to these messages. We will conduct multi-language key informant interviews with citizens, health care providers and government officials in Singapore and Canada to identify drivers of misinformation, fear and stigma, and will develop corresponding strategies and tools to mitigate these. We will test our tools with an international, diverse participant panel to ensure our findings are meaningful to a global audience.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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