What Do They Say? Disinformation as a superorganism

After numerous analyzes on the topic of disinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gong continues its campaign to raise media literacy by publishing a series of comics related to this topic. The result of our work are two publications, named "What do they say?" and "Blue people are not real", realized through the contribution of Ena Jurov, Lucija Bužančić, Peđa Ličina and Štef Bartolić.

In the last few years, most of us have become familiar with "those" situations - at home, when going out, in public transport and elsewhere - in which the space between us and our interlocutors has become choked by the presence of an intrusive superorganism - disinformation. Each of us can testify through seemingly banal examples how disinformation destroy interpersonal relationships, creating a wall between individuals and the community. Therefore, we will easily recognize our social everyday life in Ena Jurov's comics Bus For Home, A Good Night Out and the Online Guy. These three short comics gave a humorous outline of increasingly burdened social interactions, and the very process of the emergence of divisions and intolerance was described by Lucija Bužančić in the ABC of Media Illiteracy and What do they say? / Disinformation as a superorganism. All five author's works were published in the comic book What do they say?, which as a whole talks about the way disinformation shapes the attitudes and beliefs of individuals, disrupting the very social elements that make a community more resistant to crises - cohesion and solidarity.

In the mechanisms through which this superorganism survives and grows, it is increasingly easy to recognize an established pattern, easily applicable in circumstances that are not necessarily related to a pandemic. Thus Peđa Ličina, for example, in his text Blue people are not real described the very well-known dynamics of the spread of disinformation and the devastating effects they have on the community through a completely (un)believable scenario of dehumanization of people with blue eyes. This story was visually created by the experienced cartoonist Štef Bartolić, and is also available in video format.

The comics were created within the framework of the multidisciplinary project "Pro-fact: Research, education, fact-checking and debunking of disinformation narratives related to COVID-19 in Croatia", which is headed by Gong. The project comprehensively approaches the social, political and health problem of the spread of COVID-19 disinformation campaigns by researching, raising awareness and strengthening capacity.

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