Media's Role in Combating COVID-19
Through content analysis of the news coverage of Chinese medical workers, this study demonstrates that crucial information regarding measures that might lower the risks to them has not been presented in the positive news coverage.
Department of Journalism
In the face of COVID-19, media play a very importation role for individuals to get information and stay connected even while physical separated. Information can help keep people safe, providing people with a better understanding of what is occurring and how it might impact.
In 2003, the Chinese government failed to disclose key information about SARS to the public at an early stage in the spread of the disease, and the Chinese media remained silent about the situation until the country’s leader requested truthful and objective coverage of the disease. During the Covid-19 outbreak, Chinese news media outlets are being required to provide positive news that presents the pandemic in the best possible light.
Through content analysis of the news coverage of Chinese medical workers, this study demonstrates that crucial information regarding measures that might lower the risks to them has not been presented in the positive news coverage. Given that political and social stability are the priorities of the Chinese Communist Party, the party-controlled news media in China simply cannot fulfill the journalistic responsibility of informing the public, in this case, at the cost of risks to the safety of medical workers. The findings presented here are consistent with those of a previous study that, in a party-state, a change in control of the party-government can lead to dramatic change in media practices. Under current conditions in China, a journalistic news frame has been replaced by a propagandistic frame, even among market-oriented media outlets.
Dr Mengxiang Li, Prof Christy Cheung
Dr Lei Su, Zeyu Peng, Xitong Guo, Lejia Wei
School of Business
In this project, we intend to address this problem by investigating the dispositions of the online health-related fake news of COVID-19 and their impact on the individuals’ protective health behavior.
School of Business
Online health-related misinformation, which means health-related false and/or inaccurate information, has significantly harmed our daily life. The disruptive consequence of online health-related misinformation is more severe during the public health crisis such as the pandemic of COVID-19, which provides fertile grounds for the health-related misinformation of COVID-19 to propagate through the digital media. In analogy to the infection of virus that attacks human’s organ, the online health-related misinformation of COVID-19, such as fake news, rumor, would undermine our decision-making in applying protective behavior to combat the genuine coronavirus. However, we have little knowledge about the underlying mechanism of the impact of online health-related fake news on the individuals’ offline protective health behavior during the pandemic such as wearing a face mask, and/or applying disinfect spray on hands regularly. In this project, we intend to address this problem by investigating the dispositions of the online health-related fake news of COVID-19 and their impact on the individuals’ protective health behavior. To this end, we have collected a unique dataset that consists of over 6,000 individuals’ responses during the most critical period for combating the COVID-19 in mainland China. Besides, we matched this dataset with the COVID-19 related online fake news data in that period by using the online crawling technique and natural language processing technique. We believe our project could make salient implications to the scholars of fake news research and behavioral immunity research, as well as online news platform managers, policymakers, and public health practitioners.