Police have been analysing and refuting disinformation about the novel coronavirus and have dispelled more than 100 hoaxes since the beginning of the outbreak, Police Corps Presidium spokesperson Denisa Bardyova stated on Friday. Police Corps President Peter Kovarik perceives the fight against disinformation as one of the cardinal components of strategic police communication. A popular hoax spreading on social media claims that the bereaved are offered financial benefits if they agree to have COVID-19 listed in the death certificate as the official cause of death. A disinformation campaign also accompanied the mass testing, stating, for instance, that people had chips implanted into their heads during the testing, linking testing with the 5G network or claiming that testing serves as a contagion vector for the virus.
Police have also refuted fake news of the restrictive measures causing a rise in suicides, children dying because of wearing face masks and the supposed detrimental health effects of face masks. Police also responded to photographs of shut down testing sites, purposefully taken during lunch breaks in order to claim that the number of positive cases is being artificially inflated in statistics. Among the motives for disseminating disinformation, the police listed the hybrid war, economic profits and also the satisfaction of ego.
"The purpose of the constant dispelling of hoaxes is not to convince the authors and spreaders of disinformation, who genuinely believe in them, but the segment of the population that is in the process of deciding which "opinion" to deem as true and correct. Only with an effective fight (against disinformation) can the numbers of the conspiracy theorist community be maintained in a significant minority as before," added a police spokesperson.