CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND MASS MEDIA IN THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE SPREAD OF CORONA VIRUS DISEASE
1.1 Background to the Study
The Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria is a component of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic brought on by the coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS Covid-19). The first coronavirus specimen was found in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) first classified the coronavirus as an epidemic, but due to its widespread worldwide distribution and lethal nature, WHO upgraded the virus to a pandemic in 2020. Around 5,600 fatalities and over 200,000 confirmed cases of COVID 19 have been reported in Africa. As of July 26, there were 16,432,110 coronavirus cases worldwide, with 10,056,554 recoveries and 652,437 fatalities (www.worldometers.info).
Coronavirus has generated a lot of worry and concern. The way viewers look for information in the twenty-first century has also been altered by COVID-19. The WHO deemed the coronavirus epidemic a Global Public Health Emergency on January 30. (www.worldometers.info).
The coronavirus was first detected in Nigeria on February 27, 2020, in a resident of Lagos state who was an Italian national. The second incident was reported on March 9, 2020 in Ewekoro, Ogun state, when a Nigerian national who made communication with the Italian national was tracked down. In Akwa Ibom state, the coronavirus initially appeared in April. Another case of the terrible Covid-19 sickness was revealed in May 2020 in relation to a member of the Government House Press Corps (http://allafrica.com). The overall number of confirmed cases in Nigeria as of July 25, 2020 was 40,532, with 17,374 reported recoveries and 858 confirmed fatalities, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC). NCDC reports that there have been 208 confirmed cases in Akwa Ibom state as of July 25, 2020, with 121 reported recoveries and 7 confirmed fatalities. (wikipedia.com).
The daily updates on the coronavirus pandemic are quite popular and are broadcast on radio, scrolled on televisions, and shared on social media. The level of media dependence of Nigerians during the Covid-19 Pandemic increased significantly as a result of the liberalization of the telecommunications sector in Nigeria, which resulted in over 139 million active mobile phone users and an installed capacity of over 180 million lines (Monye, 2015). The media is crucial in spreading the message of health promotion. In order to encourage healthy behaviors, Asogba (2019), citing Quattrin, Filliputt, and Brusaferro (2015), claims that public health programs may benefit from using the media.
It’s interesting to note that when Melvin DeFleur and Sandra Ball-Rokeach (1976) proposed the Media System Dependence theory, they had no idea that social media had just begun to take off. The main tenet of the Media System Dependence hypothesis is that people would turn to the media in times of crisis or uncertainty to get the information they need to feel less uncertain and anxious. In particular, during health emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic, the more people depend on the media for meeting their health demands, the more significant the role that the media will play in their lives and the more influence the media will have over them. In order to better understand how social media and mass media are used in the fight against the spread of Corona Virus Disease
1.2 Statement of the problem
With symptoms ranging from fever, coughing, and mild breathlessness to severe desaturation leading to respiratory failure, the disease primarily affects the respiratory system. There have been reports of the new virus causing a thromboembolic condition in the body, leading to myocardial infarction and pulmonary embolism, despite the fact that it causes adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which causes lung damage in the form of pulmonary embolism. Many patients may also experience renal failure as a result of it.
Droplets, the air, feces, and touch transmission are all possible modes of propagation. There have been reports of viruses remaining active on surfaces for several hours to days. This diverse range of illnesses is alarming and contributes to the disease’s rising mortality rate.
These factors cause widespread concern and compel people to turn to the most accessible channels of support. The internet or media, which includes print and broadcast options, are the two main options for the majority of people. The internet is regarded as a global media outlet. Controlling the transmission of disease is a fundamental requirement during an epidemic or pandemic. It requires early recognition of symptomatology, prompt diagnostic measures, effective home and hospice management, and appropriate preventive steps. This in turn, requires the role of varying departments ranging from government to healthcare, to the media, to the general public itself. Whenever a new virus or bacterial disease emerges, it goes through localized transmission, amplification in the spread, and finally, the remission with successful measures. The controlling measures are taken at each step of the chain. They include anticipation about the likely widespread infection, early detection, effective containment, control and mitigation measures, and lastly, eradication. According to WHO, it involves the coordination of responders, proper health information system, and managing communication risks. Media plays a crucial role at each step. The method of news reporting modifies the behavior of people and their attitudes.
This was investigated during the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak in the Chinese province of Shaanxi. In a study released in 2016, Yan Q. et al. shown how people’s reactions to media stories might alter, which has an impact on the management of developing diseases. The 2009 H1N1 pandemic caused media headlines about the disease’s spread, which increased public concern and knowledge. On the one hand, it assisted people in implementing crucial safety precautions. Nonetheless, some people began stigmatizing sick people as a result of incorrect stories that appeared in various newspapers. Here is an illustration of how there is a two-way connection between illness control and media awareness. The media impact model was created following the SARS pandemic of 2003–2004 in order to research the impact of the media and disease dynamics. This left open the question of whether media had an overall good or negative effect, necessitating the need to broaden the model and investigate its implications. Again, the media was important during the MERS outbreak in 2012. Technology advancements and an increase in internet accessibility for the average person have increased public awareness significantly, calling for better adherence to crucial public health measures.
Social media had a greater impact on the H7N9 epidemic in China than it did on the MERS epidemic in 2012, according to research on the two epidemics. It emphasizes the significance of the subject under discussion. This study will look into how social media and mass media are used in the fight against the corona virus disease.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The study’s primary goal is to conduct a critical analysis of how social media and mainstream media are used in the effort to stop the spread of the corona virus disease. The study specifically seeks to:
1. Find out how much the people of Uyo relied on the media for news during the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
2. Determine which media outlets Nigerians turned to most often for information during the Covid-19 pandemic.
3. Find out how Uyo locals perceive the function of different media during the Nigerian COVID-19 pandemic in terms of information distribution.
1.4 Research Question
1. How much did inhabitants of Uyo rely on the media for news during the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria?
2. Which media outlets are most often used in Nigeria during the Covid-19 pandemic?
3. How do the people of Uyo view the function of the various media in the spread of information during the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria?
1.5 Significance Of The Study
The study will give relevant organizations working to eradicate coronavirus in Akwa-state and throughout Nigeria the chance to evaluate the media landscape for potential modernisation or adjustment. The study will demonstrate how the new virus outbreak has been covered by the media. The study reveals how rural residents view the media as an organization that cares about their welfare, and from there it highlights the media’s effectiveness as a tool for mass education and mobilization with implications for state public policy.
1.6 Scope/Limitation of the Study
At Uyo, the state capital of Akwa-Ibom state in south-south Nigeria, a study on the critical analysis of the use of social media and mass media in the campaign against the spread of the corona virus disease was conducted. The entire metropolis of Uyo will be covered. The Uyo metropolis was divided into six clusters: Wellington Bassey Way, Ikot Ekpene Road, Nwaniba Road, Oron Road, and Abak Road.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Social media are interactive technologies that enable the development, sharing, and exchange of knowledge, viewpoints, areas of professional interest, and other kinds of expression via online groups and networks.
MASS MEDIA: The term “mass media” refers to a broad range of media technologies that, through mass communication, reach a sizable audience. The technology used for this communication include a wide range of sources. Electronic information is sent by media like movies, radio, recorded music, or television in broadcast media.
A planned sequence of action to accomplish a goal is known as a campaign.
A novel coronavirus, currently known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; also known as 2019-nCoV), which was originally discovered during an outbreak of respiratory sickness cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, is known as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).