COVID-19 and the Media Overview:
- Role of electronic media – spreading awareness; public health communication; reduction of stigma, prejudice, discrimination, and inequalities.
- Role of social media – public health communication; increasing trends in civic journalism.
- Challenges of information overload, misinformation.
- Marketing and supply opportunities for businesses.
Gary Kreps talks about the essential role of the media in coordinating responses to the pandemic. Kreps states the that active role of the media in regards to pandemic coverage involves increasing public awareness, about the problem itself as well as the severity of the pandemic; to deliver timely information, updating the public on prevention tips and public health information; and to serve as a coordinator between healthcare workers, first responders, policy makers and the public. These serve three primary functions of pandemic media: prevention, preparation and response. Gary Kreps talks about how the media in the US failed in all three in response to COVID-19. Instead, Kreps discusses how there was a politically-motivated spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories. The credibility of mainstream media was attacked as fake news by political figures and official pandemic press briefings were used to further the spread of misinformation. Kreps also discusses the role of specialized social media in spreading false information, and emphasizes the importance at looking at different sources of information.
Krep’s presentation on the role of the media in response to COVID-19 in the US is below:
Rizwan Jaffar talks about his hands-on experience in providing information on the coronavirus to the public as a TV anchor in Pakistan. His TV channel administration advised him to focus on the coronavirus issue and to raise awareness. Jaffar talks about putting in effort to learn about COVID-19 by meeting with doctors and medical staff, in order to coordinate responses. He talks about pressure at the beginning to learn more about the pandemic, in order to share information and awareness to the people of Pakistan. Jaffar says every show he invited doctors, social workers, and other relevant individuals to talk about the response and certain difficulties, such as economic and political issues. He emphasizes the importance of spreading awareness through the lockdown, and throughout the phases of reopening. Jaffar notes how print and electronic media in Pakistan took a responsible approach in response to the pandemic, which has assisted in them in reopening.
Rizwan’s presentation on media response to COVID-19 in Pakistan is below: