Seven short films aimed at combating COVID-19 misinformation were produced by the 2020 cohort of the MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy, putting the talents of young African filmmakers to work on one of the biggest challenges of our time.
The films were part of the United Nations’ Pause campaign, a wider behaviour change campaign that aimed to create a new social media norm to help combat the rising impact of viral misinformation. The short films were aired on MultiChoice channels between 9 December and 31 December 2020. The MultiChoice Group provided the airtime as part of the ongoing support of the campaign. The short films can be accessed through https://multichoicetalentfactory.com/un-psas.
The filmmakers — from Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe — tackled the subject through a variety of approaches, often using humour and slang to deliver vital and punchy lifesaving messages that appealed to local viewers.
“We recognise the transformative power of media and the critical role we play to educate audiences about the dangers of misinformation through these short films, which have enabled us to share hyperlocal information with our audiences,” said Mrs. Leah Kooma, Chief Customer Officer, MultiChoice Zambia.
The Pause campaign was part of Verified, an initiative launched in May by the United Nations to communicate accessible science-backed health information in compelling formats and sharing stories of global solidarity around COVID-19. Pause was the first global behaviour change campaign on misinformation to mobilise experts and researchers, governments, influencers, civil society, businesses, regulators and the media under a single message. It was aimed at increasing media literacy to enable social media users to spot misinformation and stop themselves from passing it on.
The campaign was based on research that indicated that a brief pause significantly lessened the inclination to share shocking or emotive material thereby slowing the spread of misinformation. It aimed to reach a global audience of 1 billion globally, online and through partnerships, by the end of December.
“We cannot successfully tackle the pandemic without also addressing online misinformation. Were thrilled to be working with the talented young African filmmakers at the MultiChoice Talent Factory, who brought such creativity and passion to this project,” said Robert Skinner Senior Adviser for Global Communications at the United Nations. “We hope young people across Africa will see themselves in these films and take action to help break the chain of misinformation by pausing before they share.”