INFODEMIC: Global Conversations on Science and Misinformation


Produced by the Aspen Institute Science & Society Program and Robyn Lane Productions for television broadcast and streaming, INFODEMIC features top science experts from around the world—Japan, China, Philippines, India, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Germany, Italy, France, Brazil, and the United States—diving deeply into the costs of science misappropriation and denialism and offering solutions to the challenges science faces globally.

The series is available for streaming on PBS, LinkTV, and YouTube, was broadcast in May 2021 on Link TV (carried nationally via DirecTV and Dish Network), and will be on select PBS member stations in July.

Created completely under lockdown with participants from the Aspen Global Congress on Scientific Thinking & Action, this six-part documentary series covers a wide range of topics from climate change to governments ignoring science to busting the myths of pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, and the paranormal.

The public launch event featured the series executive producers and an international group of science experts.

INFODEMIC: Global Conversations on Science and Misinformation was written and directed by Robyn Rosenfeld and executive produced by Robyn Rosenfeld and Aaron F. Mertz.

INFODEMIC is made possible in part by the Aspen Institute (Nakasone Scholarship Fund and David T. McLaughlin Leadership Fund), Laura and Gary Lauder Family Venture Philanthropy FundRita Allen Foundation, and Instituto Questão de Ciência (Question of Science Institute) in Brazil.

Episode 1: Science Denial in a ‘Post-Truth’ Era

We investigate the roots and repercussions of science denial, propaganda, and information suppression in the United States and China, from climate change denial to COVID denial to election denial, during this current era known as “Post-Truth.”

Featuring: Lee McIntyre (USA) & Joy Y. Zhang (China)

Episode 2: Dousing Denial: The Pandemic of Climate Change
In North Africa, we meet a young Sudanese journalist and climate activist whose mission is to spread climate change awareness throughout the Islamic world. Then in France, a climate scientist delves into the global impacts of climate change. Together, they explore climate action and solutions for Sudan, France, and the world.

Featuring: Lina Yassin (Sudan) & François-Marie Bréon (France)

Episode 3: Science Faction: When Disinformation Creates Divides
We investigate the politicization of science across the United States and Saudi Arabia. In Washington D.C., we confront the divisive cost of disinformation and how to reestablish trust in science globally while encouraging scientific innovation. We then travel to Saudi Arabia, where we learn how the government is pioneering new technologies, such as smart roads, smart sewage systems, and smart cities inhabited by robots, including the first Saudi robot citizen Sophia.

Featuring: Cary Funk (USA) & Faris Bukhamsin (Saudi Arabia)

Episode 4: When Governments Ignore Science
We investigate disinformation and pseudoscience propagated by governments. In India, we learn about efforts to combat superstitions and black magic. In Brazil, we learn how public measures against COVID, including those by the drug lords of the favelas, were more effective than the government’s.

Featuring: Narendra Nayak (India) & Natália Pasternak (Brazil)

Episode 5: Busting the Myths: From Propaganda to the Paranormal
Two myth-busters, from Italy and Germany, reveal their scientific approaches to debunking conspiracy theories, fake news, supernatural claims, and pseudoscience.

Featuring: Massimo Polidoro (Italy) & Amardeo Sarma (Germany)

Episode 6: Science in the Face of Natural Disasters
We confront the aftermath of the massive Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the devastating Fukushima earthquake in Japan. We follow two scientific risk communicators who weathered and survived these natural disasters. These experts expose examples of bad science communication during crises and examine lessons in risk communication that apply to a global pandemic.

Featuring: Inez Ponce de Leon (Philippines) & Masataka Watanabe (Japan)