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Van Jones Commends Decision to Cancel COVID Misinformation Panel Due to Huawei Sponsorship

Van Jones speaking at the 2016 Politicon at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, Calif. (Gage Skidmore)

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) has canceled a panel discussion on coronavirus misinformation that was to be sponsored by Chinese tech giant Huawei.

The panel would have included CNN’s Van Jones and Black Eyed Peas member will.i.am.

I accepted invite to participate in NABJ webinar, warning black community about COVID misinformation. I said ‘yes’ without knowing sponsor,” Jones wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “Glad NABJ canceled; I wouldn’t have participated. I’ll keep raising alarm about pandemic’s impact on vulnerable people.”

The NABJ put out a statement saying the panel discussion had become a “distraction from other priorities.”

“[The panel] had come under attack because controversial technology giant Huawei was planning to sponsor the webinar though it had no editorial control. NABJ always retains editorial control over all such content along with final say over moderators and panelists,” the statement read. “There is no signed contract and NABJ has not accepted funding from Huawei. NABJ will continue its COVID-19 dialogue with the greater community-at-large.”

Huawei, the leading developer of 5G networks and infrastructure in the world, is widely considered to have ties to the Chinese government. U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle have warned that China can spy on foreign nations through Huawei-built networks.

The coronavirus pandemic, which began in Wuhan, China, has infected over 4,200,000 worldwide as of Tuesday. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that China concealed the magnitude of the outbreak in its initial stages, in part to hoard medical supplies needed to contain the pathogen. The U.S. has also warned that China is attempting to steal American research data on possible coronavirus vaccines.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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