7 June, 2020

Health for All Film Festival: The Role of Media amidst COVID-19

To this day, various government health organizations are struggling to flatten the curve. Every single day, the number of Covid-19 positive patients are still rising. As a result, stricter safety regulations are implemented. Some of these include wearing of masks (even home-made ones), social distancing, and quarantines.

Even companies had to re-evaluate and adjust to what appears to be the “new normal.” Aside from continuing their operations from their own homes, meetings happen on video chats. For other individuals, only those who need to buy necessities are allowed to go outside.

It is quite amazing to see how information moves at these challenging times. With everyone obliged to stay at home, people rely heavily on the various mass media for any information.

Social Media

Indeed, social media is the most accessible and widely used form of any medium today. With several platforms readily available and interconnected, information spreading is easy. However, it also poses several problems.

First and foremost, since almost everyone has social media accounts nowadays, there has been congestion of content. So, it is quite challenging to filter out the essential accounts from the non-essential ones. Also, there is the problem of capturing audience interest up to the point where they pay attention to the vital information.

In some countries, for example, their health sector was able to put social media into good use for information dissemination. Through TikTok, the viral video-sharing app, the department was able to share ways on how to prevent the spread of the virus. (Cepeda, 2020)

As much as it helps with faster data spread, Powell (2020), believes it also has some pitfalls on its own. Number one being that it is also the source of false information. Last March, a video circulated online stating that eating a banana can prevent the acquisition of the virus. Even with no science to back it up, the supply of bananas the next morning was affected.

To make matters worse, Powell (2020) also believes it created a stereotype. Back in December of 2019, the then-unnamed virus was only referred to as the “Wuhan Virus,” and the term spread like wildfire through social media. Unfortunately, it caused such a negative connotation for anyone living in the city.

Television and Radio

It is during this time when people need mass media the most. For some, the traditional is still better than social media. So, they stick to television and radio. However, with the fear of spreading COVID-19, even the government officials and journalists are urged to stay at home—good thing these agencies have found a way around it.

The entire world is getting introduced to the beauty of video conferences.

Government officials would call a press conference, almost daily. However, with the provisions of social distancing, it would be considered hazardous to have more than five people in the same room. So, they opted to use video conferencing.

Usually, it is done through the use of Skype or Zoom, two of the most popular video-conferencing apps out there. Then, it is broadcasted to everyone else in their own homes. For others, it is also broadcasted through the use of “live” features of some social media platforms. Even though the set-up is far from usual, they are the most efficient ways of how people can get the information when needed and in real-time.

Some radio channels have adopted the same style as well. Instead of doing their broadcasts from their radio booths, it is now done online. The two radio broadcasters or disc jockeys may also opt to do live broadcasts on their homes and connect it to their social media accounts or use the company’s account.

The Role of Media

To be honest and fair, the role of media has not changed that much since the pandemic started. They are still the same and is still considered as sources of information during this time. However, as stated above, the challenge of today is weeding out the real news from the fake ones.

As challenging as it is, one of the most effective methods of disseminating the correct information, as needed in today’s pandemic is through infographics. It can also be used in all types of media- newspapers, social media, television, even through radio bulletins.

Infographics are the shorter term for informational graphics. These are visual representations that give an overview of the topic. It makes it easier for both the sender of the information to understand and the message. So, in today’s situation, it would be best to use infographics to disseminate health awareness about the on-going crisis happening.

As long as the content, the sender, the platform, and the medium used is truthful, and without fail, everyone will know the latest updates on the virus feared by most.

REFERENCES

Cepeda, M. (2020). ‘COVID dance challenge’: DOH brings battle vs coronavirus to TikTok. Rappler. Retrieved 19 May 2020, from https://www.rappler.com/nation/253541-covid19-dance-challenge-doh-brings-battle-tiktok.

FALSE: Video saying bananas ‘prevent coronavirus’. Rappler. (2020). Retrieved 19 May 2020, from https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/254883-video-bananas-prevent-coronavirus.

Powell, M. (2020). What role do the media play in managing the COVID-19 outbreak? – ID Hub. Infectious Diseases Hub. Retrieved 19 May 2020, from https://www.id-hub.com/2020/03/05/role-can-media-play-managing-covid-19-outbreak/.

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