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
Date Written: May 24, 2020
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
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