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Batsapp Project

Three Episode Podcast Series



The Batsapp Project is a documentary podcast which chronicles the human experience of online misinformation during the 2018 Nipah outbreak. While online misinformation has now permeated our lives, the Nipah response is a positive story of how the individuals, communities and institutions most affected by misinformation came together to fight it. This series is set in the picturesque Indian state of Kerala, whose public health establishment received global acclaim for its management of the deadly Nipah outbreak. We also talk to international experts about the ways in which our mind processes misinformation and what this means for risk communication during outbreaks.


Flying Foxes

Episode 1  |  15:22  min 

A mysterious virus is consuming human lives in northern Kerala. Fear, panic and uncertainty start sowing the seeds of misinformation among the communities. 


Original Photo by Nithin P John  and CDC on Unsplash



Episode 2  |  22:07  min 

Online misinformation in now flying around in various forms, threatening to derail the Nipah response. Quick and nimble coordinated responses start emerging.

Flattening Misinfodemics

Episode 3  |  33:24  min 

Experts tell us about how misinformation plays into our psychological instincts and how news and data literacy can help us build misinformation resilient societies.


Photo by Ruth Burrows on Unsplash

Special Features


Dr. Devadasan, Director of the Institute of Public Health in Bengaluru reflects on Kerala’s communication management during Nipah and implications for risk communication.

Dr. Anoop Kumar, Chief Intensivist at Baby Memorial Hospital talks about how he used social media to dispel misinformation and reflects on clinicians’ role in addressing the infodemic.

Dr. Gaya Gamhewage, Head of Learning at the World Health Organisation talks about how social media disturbs the trust equilibrium during disease outbreaks.

Dr. Claudia Pagliari, Director of Global eHealth at University of Edinburgh tells us about how forming relationships with people we don’t know underpins the misinformation problem.

This project was funded by the

UK Digital Economy Crucible Alumni Seedcorn Fund

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Creative Team

Executive Producer & Principal Investigator

Podcast Co-Producer

Podcast Producer

Graphic Designer

Special Thanks


Credits and References



Flying Foxes



  • “Outside Visitors” by Sarah Santana

  • “Folk Secrets Music Project” by Vayali Bamboo Band

  • “Timelapsed Tides” by Asher Fulero

  • “Magical Glade” by Soul Candle

  • “Spirit of the Dead” by Aakash Gandhi

  • “Walk into the Village” by Vayali Bamboo Band



  • “How Sabith contracted Nipah virus: Kerala anthropologist traces first victim’s life”, The News Minute, October 4, 2018

  • “Tracking Nipah outbreak: Sabith, Patient No. 1 infected all but one”, The Indian Express, July 15, 2018

  • “Nipah virus: Anatomy of an outbreak”, The Hindu, June 2, 2018

  • “Dr G Arun Kumar interview on Nipah Virus outbreak in Calicut”, Youtube, June 6, 2018

  • “Tracking the Nipah Virus”, Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Magazine, Fall 2019

  • “Nipah Virus (NiV)”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 20, 2014

  • “First Nipah casualty did eat fruits bitten by bats: Probe”, OnManorama, October 3, 2018

  • “Lini Puthuserry died of the Nipah virus on May 21st”, The Economist, June 2, 2018

  • “WHO pays tribute to Kerala nurse who died of Nipah virus infection”, The Hindu, June 5, 2018

  • “Kerala nurse Lini who died treating Nipah patient honoured with Florence Nightingale award”, The Indian Express, December 6, 2019

  • “Life in the time of Nipah”, The Times of India, June 2, 2018






  • “Under Cover” by Wayne Jones

  • “Dark Toys” by SYBS

  • “Resolution” by Wayne Jones

  • “The battle of 1066” by Patrick Patrikios

  • “Nocturnally” by Amulets

  • “Digital Dreaming”, Music by CO.AG 

  • “One”, (Album: Navarasam) by Thaikkudam Bridge

  • “Raga - Dance of Music” by Aakash Gandhi


  • Zarocostas, J. (2020). "How to fight an infodemic." The Lancet 395(10225): 676.

  • GOV.UK (2020). "Government cracks down on spread of false coronavirus information online." Retrieved May 7, 2020, from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-cracks-down-on-spread-of-false-coronavirus-information-online.

  • Smith, R. D. (2006). "Responding to global infectious disease outbreaks: lessons from SARS on the role of risk perception, communication and management." Social science & medicine 63(12): 3113-3123.

  • McAlonan, G. M., et al. (2007). "Immediate and sustained psychological impact of an emerging infectious disease outbreak on health care workers." The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 52(4): 241-247.

  • Joffe, H. (2011). "Public apprehension of emerging infectious diseases: are changes afoot?" Public Understanding of Science 20(4): 446-460

  • Wagner-Egger, P., et al. (2011). "Lay perceptions of collectives at the outbreak of the H1N1 epidemic: heroes, villains and victims." Public Understanding of Science 20(4): 461-476.

  • Livemint (2020). "How WhatsApp forwards on coronavirus broke the ₹1 tn Indian poultry industry." Retrieved May 7, 2020, from https://www.livemint.com/mint-lounge/features/how-whatsapp-forwards-on-coronavirus-broke-the-1-7-bn-indian-poultry-industry-11584715653782.html.


Flattening Misinfodemics