Within the advent of COVID-19 pandemic, media coverage has played a crucial role across the globe in providing practical and credible information while influencing perceptions on the spreading of the coronavirus. The global health crisis has changed social norms and practices with the various safety measures put in place by governments, including social and physical distancing, lockdown rules and regulations in some states, all of which are inherently limiting on (some) human rights and liberties.
Within this context, mass media channels and social media have become the primary sources of information, while also being used as sources for fake news and disinformation. This has contributed to the creation of a surgical ‘infodemic’ worldwide and “an overabundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it”, as defined by The World Health Organization (WHO). This has had volatile effects not only on health workers and health systems, but on populations generally.
Fake news and disinformation through social media have contributed to discrimination and xenophobia affecting Africans in China and Chinese in Africa. Internally among nations in the continent, the stigma towards infected and affected persons has paved the way for discrimination, fear, confusion and division within communities.
This Webinar is moderated by Eric Olander, host of the China Africa Project and Podcast, online partner of the Africa-China Reporting Project.
Joining Eric to discuss the impact of these issues across Africa are journalists from different regions of the continent:
Issues discussed in the Webinar will include: