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Government PR boss: ‘Buy local papers to fight coronavirus fake news’

Dirk DaninoA government communications chief has urged people to buy their local newspaper to fight social media misinformation about coronavirus.

Dirk Danino-Forsyth, pictured, has made the plea in a bid to combat “harmful” rumours about COVID-19 circulating online.

Mr Danino-Forsyth, pictured, worked for the Prime Minister’s and Cabinet Office communications team as a head of strategic communications for international security and defence projects until last month.

He has now moved to become the Government of Jersey’s director of communications.

Speaking to the Jersey Evening Post, he said: “Part of what I would encourage people to do is to buy a local paper, to go online to read a reputable news source, to listen to the news radio and to watch news broadcasts because the value that the media add is through the professional approach of their journalists, the professionalism of editors, editorial policy and the regulator.

“That is something you often don’t get on social media. While we use social media as a direct way into the public, often social media commentary and social-media rumour can be quite harmful.

“That is part of why we are so keen to enable media access. We see the benefit in doing it.”

He added: “The level of disinformation and misinformation often increases during times of crisis and people should be very careful of how they digest that information.

“One of the most important things they can do is look at the government website or to be quite strict in their consumption of the media because of the professionalism that they bring and the editorial policies that news goes through.”

You can read all our coronavirus-related stories here.