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Fake News – The Other Virus

Misinformation and Disinformation in the Age of COVID-19

The Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival Trust is very pleased to present a panel discussion, Fake News – The Other Virus, Misinformation and Disinformation in the Age of COVID-19 , between Chief Censor David Shanks and Deputy Director Equity and Inclusion, Te Pūnaha Matatini Kate Hannah, chaired by journalist, author and educator Stephen Davis

The discussion will take place at 5.30pm on Thursday 5 November at the Otago Museum’s Hutton Theatre. Tickets, at $13 and $15 are available from

Organisers expect a robust and wide-ranging discussion and are looking forward to hearing audience questions on the topic as well.

Kate Hannah is a cultural historian of science whose principal research area is the historiography of the history of science, with a focus on the cultures and subcultures of science, gender in science history, ‘race’ science, eugenics, and fascism, colonisation and science culture, and narrative and complexity.

She is Deputy Director, Equity and Diversity, within Te Pūnaha Matatini, a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence for Complex Systems and Networks, a Research Fellow in the Department of Physics at the University of Auckland, and a PhD candidate at the Centre for Science and Society at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington.

David Shanks is New Zealand’s Chief Censor and leads the Classification Office, an Independent Crown Entity. He is a barrister and solicitor who has executive experience in both private and public sector senior roles.

He’s now responsible for protecting New Zealanders from harm, especially harm to tamariki and rangatahi that can come from sex, crime, cruelty, horror, and violence in media. This balances with upholding all New Zealanders’ right to freedom of expression and recognising their diverse views.

As a parent, David has a passion for the job and a determination to modernise the approach to the changing world of media content.

For three decades as an investigative reporter and war and foreign correspondent – for the likes of The Sunday Times, the BBC, Discovery, and 20/20 – and as an educator, Stephen Davis has been on the frontlines of journalism, trying to uphold the ideals of the fourth estate. Among those who have tried to stop him: men with Kalashnikovs, government lawyers, corporate PR people, the police, billionaires, and newspaper owners.

He is the author of Truthteller: An Investigative Reporter’s Journey Through the World of Truth Prevention, Fake News and Conspiracy Theories. Stephen has designed and run journalism degree programmes in London, Sydney and Melbourne, and now teaches a course on fake news, disinformation and misinformation at the University of Otago. He also has a podcast, Truthteller, available through OAR FM.

The event has been supported by Marks & Worth Lawyers and IP Specialists.


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