How young reporters in Montenegro are helping fact-check COVID-19 information

By Jan Kroon from Pexels

Youth play an essential role in preventing the spread of misinformation, especially in moments of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an effort to contribute to promoting credible sources of information around the coronavirus, UNICEF's young reporters in Montenegro have decided to check the accuracy of information published on social media and in the media that has attracted public attention. 

The message of UNICEF's young reporters to all citizens of Montenegro -and the world!- is: Let's choose what we watch, read and listen to. Let's choose who we trust. Let's be media literate, check and critically analyze all media content before sharing it with others. Let's choose what we publish.

These are some some of the messages they found and fact-checked, but you can do your part, too! Learn here how to take action and fight COVID-19. 


? "Garlic, hot brandy and bacon are our body armour against coronavirus"

  • The World Health Organization says that drinking alcohol cannot protect us from coronavirus and that it can be dangerous. “Frequent or excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of health problems,” the WHO website states.
  • The WHO also says that garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence that consuming this vegetable can protect people from the new coronavirus.

More information, here

? "Higher temperatures affect the survival of the new coronavirus"

  • Information that the virus spreads faster in lower-temperature countries cannot be considered scientific fact. The WHO has reported that there is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The average temperature of the human body remains around 36.5 to 37 degrees Celsius, regardless of the external temperature or weather.

More information, here

? "Coronavirus dies within five minutes at 70°C?"

  • Incorrect. Exposure to the sun or temperatures above 25°C does NOT prevent coronavirus disease (COVID-19). You can catch COVID-19 regardless of sunny or hot weather. High-temperature countries have reported COVID-19 cases. To protect yourself, be sure to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly and to avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.

More information, here

? "After washing one’s hands, they should be dried with a paper towel, and towels should be washed more"

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that a disposable towel should be used, if possible, to eliminate bacteria as effectively as possible. We also asked the Institute of Public Health of Montenegro (IJZ CG) if it is true that, after washing our hands, we should use a paper towel, and only then a towel.

    “If you have dried your hands with a paper towel there is no need to use a towel. A paper towel is epidemiologically the best solution, because it can only be used once. It is thrown away after use. So a paper towel is ideal, but if there is no paper towel, it is only then that an ordinary towel comes into play."

More information, here

? "The Mediterranean diet as a cure for coronavirus?"

  • From our research, we learned that this diet could have a positive effect on our health, and yet it served as no protection against coronavirus, so we came to the conclusion that this news was not true. We decided to contact the Public Health Institute of Montenegro and ask them whether it was true that the Mediterranean diet (more fruits, vegetables and greens) would help the body cope with coronavirus infection, as reported by some online media.

    "The Mediterranean diet is part of healthy habits and healthy lifestyles, and as such, combined with a proper rhythm of life – regular sleep and reducing stress (as much as possible in this situation) can contribute to a better functioning of the immune system, although there is no clear scientific evidence for this,"  reads the response provided by the PHI to UNICEF's young reporters.

    More information, here

Visit this site to read more examples of how young UNICEF reporters in Montenegro are helping fact-check some messages about COVID-19.

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