Google will split a $3 million COVID-19 fact-checking fund among 11 projects

Univision will create bilingual videos to combat misinformation among Hispanic residents in the US.

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A health worker shows the media how she prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to a patient at a vaccination center set up in front of Rome's Termini central station, Monday, March 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
A health worker shows the media how she prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to a patient at a vaccination center set up in front of Rome's Termini central station, Monday, March 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) ASSOCIATED PRESS

Google News Initiative (GNI) has revealed the 11 projects that will receive funding to provide accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines. The goal is to reach people who are underserved by other fact-checking projects and to combat the spread of misinformation.

GNI announced the $3 million open fund in January and said it would cover up to 80 percent of project costs. Within three weeks, it received more than 300 applications from 74 countries. GNI selected the recipients for their focus on reaching underrepresented audiences, novel approaches to fact checks and plans to measure how impactful those outreach strategies are.

The fund will support a project in the US between Univision and Factcheck.org. They’ll produce bilingual videos to clear up misconceptions about vaccines and aim to reach the majority of Hispanic households.

Africa Check and Theatre for a Change are working on interactive radio dramas to deliver fact checks in Senegal and Nigeria. Agência Lupa will offer accurate information to community radio stations in Brazil in areas where news may otherwise be hard to come by. It's working with digital influencers to promote media literacy too.

Aleteia, I.Media and Verificat.cat are building a database of fact checks for Catholic news organizations in seven languages. Chequeado, through the collaborative Latam Chequea project, aims to reach seniors, young adults and indigenous populations in Latin America with accurate vaccine information in a number of formats. A digital publication in the Mexican state of Tlaxcala will use loudspeakers and other methods to reach Nahuatl speakers.

The Quint aims to harness a grassroots network of women in rural areas to combat local misinformation. In Uruguay, la diaria is working with trap performer Pekeño 77 and screenwriter Pedro Saborido to broaden its fact-checking reach. Other projects are focused on providing information to wet markets in Indonesia (Katadata), Spaniards with disabilities (Servimedia and Maldita.es) and people in New Zealand (Stuff, Māori Television and the Pacific Media Network).

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