WHO losing media war to ‘torrent of fake news’

“WHO pandemic treaty: “Torrent of fake news” has put negotiations at risk, says WHO chief”

Meryl Nass from Meryl’s COVID Newsletter merylnass@substack.com 


“WHO pandemic treaty: “Torrent of fake news” has put negotiations at risk, says WHO chief”

from the BMJ. Tedros is only speaking about the Treaty and not the IHRs. This is meant to make people think they are not at risk from the IHRs, which are even more dangerous than the Treaty.


News https://www.bmj.com/content/384/bmj.q243

BMJ 2024; 384 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.q243 (Published 29 January 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;384:q243

Luke Taylor

Negotiations of an international treaty intended to prepare for and prevent future pandemics are in danger of falling apart as misinformation fuels opposition to the initiative, senior World Health Organization officials said last week.

WHO’s 194 member states agreed in December 2021 to draw up a new international convention to ensure that the world would be prepared for future global health threats and to prevent the “catastrophic failure” seen during the covid pandemic.1

WHO said that negotiations have advanced significantly in the past two years but some of the most crucial and contentious stipulations of the accord are yet to be agreed. Global health experts had hoped that the treaty would be signed off at the 2024 World Health Assembly in late May but this timeline could be unrealistic.

“When covid-19 struck, we acted with urgency. We found new ways of working together. We did this because we had to,” WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the assembly. “We need that same sense of urgency now.”

WHO has not published a significant update on the negotiations since October 2023 when it published the latest draft.2 The lack of new information shared with the public makes it hard to understand how much negotiations have advanced, which commitments remain in the accord, and whether WHO can push the internationally binding agreement over the line for May.

Global health experts are concerned that stipulations deemed key to preventing future pandemic disasters, such as the obligation to share information in order to detect novel pathogens early on, could be watered down or stripped entirely.

International pharmaceutical companies have been critical of the obligation for countries to waive the exclusive rights to produce jabs so that vaccines can be produced in low and middle income countries more rapidly.3

Nina Schwalbe, [hired to do sophisticated PR for the Treaty and IHR—Nass] public health researcher and founder of the public health think tank Spark Street Advisors, told The BMJ, “There has been no demonstrable progress on any of the problems areas—from access and benefit sharing to equity, intellectual property, and financing. All the matters that have been sticky from the beginning are still sticky and the way forward is unclear. It’s a tough road ahead.”

WHO officials blamed conspiracy theories for mobilising public opposition to the accord and hindering negotiations. Social media is awash with what Tedros described as a “a torrent of fake news, lies, and conspiracy theories.”

Among the false claims are that the pandemic treaty plans to snatch sovereignty from countries by imposing lockdowns or vaccine mandates. “This is fake news, lies, and conspiracy theories. Negotiating members know that the agreement will give WHO no such powers, because you are writing it,” Tedros said.

[But recommendations become orders under the proposed IHR amendments—Nass]

The obstacle lies less with disinformation than with world leaders who have shown a lack of commitment to the accord, including not attending high level discussions on the pact, Schwalbe said. “There is a genuine lack of political will,” she told The BMJ.

Member nations have become too “entrenched” in their positions and their unwillingness to compromise could halt the only chance the world has to forge a new agreement that could prevent another global health disaster. “This is a generational opportunity that we must not miss,” Tedros said. “We must be bold and we must be creative to overcome hurdles, entrenched positions, and old ways of thinking.”


    1. Taylor L

    . Covid-19: WHO treaty hopes to overcome “catastrophic failures” of pandemic response. BMJ2023;380:p357. doi:10.1136/bmj.p357 pmid:36787907

    FREE Full TextGoogle Scholar

  1. Draft Pandemic Accord. IP waivers and benefits for sharing pathogen information are in—for now. Health Policy Watch. https://healthpolicy-watch.news/draft-pandemic-accord-ip-waivers-and-benefits-for-sharing-pathogen-information-are-in-for-now
    1. Taylor L

    . WHO pandemic treaty: Negotiations falter as pharma companies warn that intellectual property rules will harm profits. BMJ2023;383:p2475. doi:10.1136/bmj.p2475 pmid:37879727

    FREE Full TextGoogle Scholar

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2 Responses to “WHO losing media war to ‘torrent of fake news’”

  1. ian says:

    I seldom turn on my car radio, however, got a call from granddaughter, ” Can you pick me up from work”, of course dear. Bloody kids, yes dear coming. I had to wait quarter of an hour after she finished, before she came out. I turned the radio on. BBC news. First time for ages. They talked about Scotlands’ handling of Covid as if it was all real. Gas lighting at it’s worst. No dear you imagined that you caught me in bed with your sister, now run along.

    • pete fairhurst 2 says:

      They are losing, folk are waking up to their BS, their plans are crumbling into dust. Keep up the good work guys, knowledge dissemination is the key, the more folk that realise then, the safer all of us will be

      I’m the same with my car radio too Ian. Too much risk of mental pollution from the Beeb nowadays. And modern music is mostly computerised mush. The Beeb drop propaganda into most programs at the oddest times. So I leave the all broadcasters well alone

      But I do glance at the headlines on their website, just for a laugh. Ditto the Telegraph and Grauniad. The number of articles that they all run pushing pure BS is off the charts. Articles that are often without any internal logic, and that often seem like they’ve been written by a child who needs to learn some grammar. This is very noticeable at the Beeb

      Yesterday was particularly funny. Fishy Sturgeon crying crocodile tears, and claiming that she had been “responsible” and “accountable” during the scamdemic! I almost spat my tea out laughing. The Beeb presented that clear and obvious phoney as real without comment. If the “Covid Enquiry” was real Fishy would be locked up pdq