Stop spreading ‘fake’ news and information on COVID-19

March 21, 2020 at 11:34 pm Leave a comment


 Amid the threat of massive spread of corona virus disease (COVID-19), which is alarming as it may cause death and health deterioration, there are still irresponsible people who make this situation laughable or a sort of joke. All over the social media particularly Facebook, we could read “fake news” that instead of allaying fears of the people, these heightened their fears leading them to being panicky about it.

In these times of internet and high-end gadgets as well as technologies, information move so fast. Everyone could easily access websites and share their contents. Everybody who has smart phones, laptops, tablets and computers could easily write and post what they want. However, let’s be wary that information should be critically analyzed whether these are factual or not. Social media although a modern platform of providing information must be treated as a tool to educate, inform and entertain people.

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COVID-19 is spreading quickly like a wildfire. People are alarmed and seemed to be uncertain as to what extent this virus will affect their lives. While most of us draw news and information from media outlets like televisions, broadsheet newspapers and radios, we should consider also that media outlets have their own biases and spin news and information that suit their corporate agenda. That is why not all news stories are the same, some are slanted that oftentimes stir the minds of the readers or audience.

 

But sometimes, the sources of information could also be blamed. Most of them are playing with words that the information they try to convey could not be taken figuratively and literally. They are blurred and flurry causing misconception and misunderstanding. The only defense when these things happen is a statement from them that they are quoted “out of context.”

 

A glaring example of this type of misinformation was from the words of President Duterte. In declaring lockdown of Metro Manila, he was avoiding it to be perceived like that. He used the words “community quarantine” in which its context is the same as “lockdown’. Even the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has warned media practitioners of avoiding the use of the word “lockdown” as it may cause alarm and fear to the people.

 

Be as it may, Metro Manila is on the verge of a lockdown. People’s movement including transportation are restricted. This particular move by the government is to avert the wider spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines, as cases are exponentially increasing in the last few days. From three cases in February, it has increased to 64 as of this writing and may even increase more in the next few days.

 

While all of us are focused on the COVID-19, let’s be of help to the government by providing  true information to the people from reliable sources. And what are these reliable sources? We have the bulletins of the Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) that are monitoring the COVID-19 situation. In the local government units, we can get facts from their information offices, official announcements of the local chief executives, inter-agency COVID-19 task forces, and legitimate local newspapers. All other sources of information should be carefully studied before they will be shared to the people. Let’s unburden the weight of the problems of our government officials who are acting to protect us from the menace wrought by the coronavirus.

 

As responsible netizens and Filipinos, what can we do to help our government in combatting “fake news” ? If we are not sure of the contents of the news, we better not share them. Let’s make ourselves “information warriors” by writing and sharing factual news devoid of political leanings.

 

COVID-19 is no joke. It will affect us regardless of our status in life. It does not respect the rich or poor, powerful or weak, government official or not. It does not also respect personal ideologies whether you are leftists, rightists or centrists. In short, it will affect each one of us. We are all vulnerable.

 

What we could do now is to be united and work together to combat this virus. Let us pray to the Lord to spare us from further destruction.

 

(For comments and suggestions, please email me at emperorvirgil@yahoo.com or at virgilmaganes42@gmail.com. Read my blog “The Roving Pen at http://www.virgilmaganes.wordpress.com and the online edition of Northern Watch at http://www.northwatch.wordpress.com)

Entry filed under: News.

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