El Tímpano
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El Tímpano

Comunidades Informadas

El Tímpano’s community-centered approach to combat misinformation in Latino and Mayan immigrant communities

Mistrust as a root of misinformation

Coverage about COVID-19 disinformation in immigrant communities and communities of color often frames the issue as one of ignorance or lack of education. If we just get the right information to these communities, they’ll come around. But we’ve found that there is something much deeper at play: A firmly, and often rightfully, rooted sense of mistrust in not just media organizations but also health and government institutions, based on longstanding collective histories and personal experiences of misrepresentation, racism, and systemic exclusion and abuse.

Equipping trusted messengers to combat misinformation

From initial conversations with community members about misinformation, one thing is clear: information — whether true or false — spreads through trust. That is, it most often spreads from within a community, from trusted messengers like church pastors, shop owners, friends, and neighbors. Think back to Maria Gonzalez, the mother whose household got sick with COVID-19 in January. She trusted her relatives who provided home remedies to recover.

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