Stuff has secured funding from the Google News Initiative to combat Covid-19 vaccine misinformation with a fact-checking project.

The funding is part of a global fund dedicated to fact-checking projects that provide underserved audiences with accurate and easy to understand information on the vaccine.

“All over the globe, a massive immunisation effort is underway. The relatively rapid nature of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out and the great anxiety that the pandemic has provoked have made this topic particularly susceptible to misinformation. Journalists can play a fundamental role by listening to their audiences concerns and providing corrective information about misconceptions that are circulating,” says Country Director of Google New Zealand Caroline Rainsford.

Stuff will launch The Whole Truth: Covid-19 vaccination project in April. It will build on the success of The Whole Truth fact-checker that was developed to hold politicians and political parties to account for their claims during the 2020 general election.

To ensure The Whole Truth reaches underserved audiences, in particular Māori and Pasifika communities, the project will be published in partnership with Māori Television and the Pacific Media Network.

“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we’ve seen misinformation and conspiracy theories on the virus, and vaccines in particular, reach fever-pitch,” says Stuff editorial director Mark Stevens.

“Our priority is ensuring we can get our trustworthy journalism to the audiences that need it, so people can be armed with the facts when making decisions about how to protect themselves from the virus. We commend the Google News Initiative for recognising the desperate need to fight misinformation around this important topic.”