Trust, Religion, and Politics: Coronavirus Misinformation in Iran

In Meedan 2020. 2020 Misinfodemic Report: COVID-19 in Emerging Economies

17 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2020

See all articles by Mahsa Alimardani

Mahsa Alimardani

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute; Article 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression

Mona Elswah

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute; Cairo University

Date Written: May 24, 2020

Abstract

In early 2020, the introduction of COVID-19 in the MENA region found its epicenter in Iran. The country’s outbreak preceded much of the rest of the world, and during the outset of the crisis the Iranian government’s slow reaction and delayed quarantines ignited ridicule internationally. Online and offline misinformation were part of the country’s battle with the virus. In this chapter, we highlight three main aspects that have shaped the spread of coronavirus misinformation in Iran; a) the lack of public trust in officials, b) religiously charged narratives by unofficial fringe figures, c) political manipulation of the discourse around the virus. We end this chapter by focusing on the counter measures implemented and the limitations that enabled the dissemination of the misleading content.

Keywords: Iran, MENA, COVID19, coronavirus, misinformation

Suggested Citation

Alimardani, Mahsa and Elswah, Mona, Trust, Religion, and Politics: Coronavirus Misinformation in Iran (May 24, 2020). In Meedan 2020. 2020 Misinfodemic Report: COVID-19 in Emerging Economies, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3634677 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3634677

Mahsa Alimardani (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

Article 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression ( email )

60 Farringdon Road
London, EC1R 1UQ
United Kingdom

Mona Elswah

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

Cairo University ( email )

Orman
Giza, 12613
Egypt

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