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Misinformation, Transparency, and Communications during the COVID-19 Pandemic

From policy transparency to the role of journalism, this piece focuses on the role of communications in the context of COVID-19.

In a global pandemic, it is vital that public health information be clear and accurate. During the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen that misinformation and disinformation has been widespread, putting lives at risk.

How can misinformation be addressed during a crisis? What role do journalists and the media play in this, and how should governments and public health agencies ensure their messaging is clear and effective?

The Max Bell School's Policy Challenges during a Pandemic series tackled these questions with a number of webinars and briefings covering issues of communications and misinformation in the context of COVID-19. Here is a recap:

Misinformation during a Public Health Crisis

In this webinar and briefing, Max Bell School Professor Taylor Owen shares seven insights about the relationship between tech and the current COVID-19 pandemic, including the role of information reliability in a democracy, mis/disinformation as a structural problem, and the broader and changing role tech plays in our society.

Policy Transparency Challenges (and Implications) of Government Responses to COVID-19

With a vaccine still many months away, what role should policy transparency play in shaping domestic and global level decision-making and communications? Kevin Page took a look at the implications of policy transparency for globalization, civil liberties, and the role of the public sector in a post pandemic world.

Crisis Communications during COVID-19: The Good, the Ugly and the Ugly

With the COVID-19 situation evolving at a breakneck pace, the swift actions implemented by governments and the preventive measures imposed on populations have been difficult to properly communicate. Although this pandemic is unique with no communications playbook for decision makers to rely on, there are numerous tried and true strategies that leaders can employ in just about any crisis. Read and watch what communications expert Adam Daifallah had to say about how governments are doing so far, and what concrete lessons can be learned about effective communication in crisis situations.

The Journalist’s Job during a Global Pandemic

There is continued upheaval in how American media report the news, receive the news, pay for the news, use the news, and define what news is; the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated many of the issues facing news outlets, while also painting in stark relief the growing divide between well-funded media behemoths and independent, local, and other small-scale news outlets. Cindy Skrzycki and David Shribman recently hosted a webinar and authored a briefing discussing the role and fate of journalists and news outlets during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic poses innumerable policy problems that impact all corners of the world’s economies and societies. The Policy Challenges during a Pandemic series seeks to tap into the expertise of the Max Bell School community to properly frame some of the issues caused by the pandemic and to provide thoughtful solutions for decision makers to consider. In addition to communications and misinformation challenges, our experts weighed in on issues of health and equity; institutions and governments; and economic recovery.

Click here to take a look at the other articles in the series.

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