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

Policy experts comment on issues facing institutions and governments in the COVID-19 crisis.

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 have been widespread, putting lives at risk.

How can misinformation be addressed during a crisis? What role do journalists and the media play in the current situation, 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, touching on topics such as 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 decision-making and communications? In this webinar and briefing, 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 constantly, the preventative actions implemented by governments have been difficult to properly communicate. Even more so when the message around these preventative measures has changed multiple times. Although this pandemic is unique, there are numerous tried-and-true strategies that leaders can employ in just about any crisis. Read the briefing and watch the webinar to see 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 reports the news, and how Americans receive, pay for, use, and define the news. 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 organizations and independent, local, and other small-scale news outlets. Cindy Skrzycki and David Shribman hosted a webinar and authored a briefing discussing the role and fate of journalists and news outlets during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Max Bell School’s Policy Challenges during a Pandemic series tapped into the expertise of the Max Bell School community and beyond to tackle the complexity of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts.

In addition to communications and misinformation challenges, policy 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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