EVENT: Preventing misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic — a panel discussion at Wikimania 2021

Illustrated by Jasmina El Bouamraoui and Karabo Poppy Moletsane – Wikimedia Foundation, (CC0 1.0).

The online panel discussion, “Preventing misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic: How Wikipedia, public health experts, and news media can collaborate to share trustworthy knowledge in times of crisis” took place on Tuesday, 17 August from 19:30 – 20:30 UTC during the 2021 Wikimania conference.

Watch a recording of the event on YouTube.

COVID-19 misinformation and anti-vaccine publicity continue to threaten public health. Over the past year, Wikipedia has emerged as one of the most important sources of information for millions of people around the world during the pandemic.

Closing out the annual Wikimania conference on Tuesday, August 17 (19:30-20:30 UTC), a mainstage panel featuring experts from the Wikipedia volunteer community, the news media, and the global health sector discussed the lessons learned from the past year and how to meet the growing need for trustworthy information about vaccines worldwide. 

The discussion explored how different stakeholders have worked to prevent mis- and dis-information around the pandemic — including a first of its kind collaboration between the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia volunteers, and the World Health Organization (WHO) — highlighting new approaches undertaken by journalists, public health experts, and major websites like Wikipedia to elevate accurate information.

Speakers: 

  • Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent (Moderator)
  • Dr. Julio Frenk, President of the University of Miami and Mexico’s former Minister of Health
  • Dr. Netha Hussain Neuroscientist and active contributor to Wikipedia’s COVID-19 coverage
  • Dr. Elaine O. Nsoesie, Computational Epidemiologist and Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, Boston University
  • Dr. Peter Singer, Special Advisor to the Director-General of the World Health Organization

The 40 minute discussion was be moderated by Dr. Gupta, with open audience Q&A for the last 15 minutes of the session. 

Wikimania (happening 13 – 17 August) is the annual gathering bringing together Wikimedians around the world. This year is the first time the conference will be held virtually through a global, time-zone friendly programme with live translation. Event sessions will cover topics including Wikipedia in education, closing the gender gap online, open access partnerships, and so much more. 

Explore the conference’s full program. Follow along on social media using #Wikimania21.