Review: Fake news in the time of environmental disaster: Preparing framework for COVID-19

Home/Review: Fake news in the time of environmental disaster: Preparing framework for COVID-19

Review: Fake news in the time of environmental disaster: Preparing framework for COVID-19

Review: Fake news in the time of environmental disaster: Preparing framework for COVID-19

This article offers policy recommendations for preparing region-specific real-time contingency measures for effective risk communication to combat the spread of fake news during a disaster.

The critical evaluation of the nature and consequences of fake news spread during other recent disasters is used to offer a framework for risk communication to address fake news during the COVID-19 pandemic. Already during this outbreak, mis-, dis-, and mal-information have been cited leading to an easier spread of fake news. Policy recommendations include:

  • Transparent clarification and sensible dissemination of information from government websites and social media pages
  • Precautionary measures for sensitive populations (e.g., low socioeconomic status, low health literacy)
  • Long-term combat plans with proper monitoring of data and reporting
  • Traditional communication tools to counteract fake news via word-of-mouth and online sources
  • Identification of dis-information and mal-information
  • Government-media-public strategy for preventing circulation of fake news

Transparency continues to be extremely important in reducing after-effects of crises. A real-time contingency plan for COVID-19 includes empowering people with media literacy and bringing structural changes aimed at preventing exposure to fake news in the first place. Individuals must rely on evidence-based science information, be mindful of where the information is coming from, and recognize who is presenting the information. Government needs to work with the public to share information via online sources, taskforce initiatives, and community forums.

|2020-05-01T09:16:52-04:00May 1st, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|0 Comments

About the Author: Maria Brann

Maria Brann
Dr. Maria Brann, PhD, MPH, is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and affiliate faculty with the Injury Control Research Center at West Virginia University. She explores the integration of health, interpersonal, and gender communication. Her translational focus and mixed methods approach are woven throughout her health vulnerabilities research, which advocates for more effective communication to improve people’s health and safety. Her primary research interests focus on the study of women’s and ethical issues in health communication contexts and promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve personal and public health and safety. She researches communication at both the micro and macro levels and studies how communication influences relationships among individuals and with the social world.

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