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CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND MASS MEDIA IN THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE SPREAD OF CORONA VIRUS DISEASE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the study

The Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria is part of the global scourge of coronavirus disease in 2019, which is caused by the coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS Covid-19). Coronavirus was originally found in December of 2019 in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization (WHO) first classified coronavirus as an epidemic, but due to its global spread and lethal nature, WHO upgraded the virus to a pandemic in 2020. On the African continent, almost 200,000 COVID 19 cases have been confirmed, with over 5,600 deaths. As of July 26, there were 16,432,110 coronavirus cases worldwide, with 10,056,554 cases recovered and 652,437 deaths (www.worldometers.info). Coronavirus has sparked widespread fear and concern. COVID-19 also altered how twenty-first-century viewers search for information. The WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency on January 30. The coronavirus was first detected in Nigeria on February 27, 2020, when an Italian citizen in Lagos state tested positive for the virus. The second incidence was revealed in Ewekoro, Ogun state, on March 9, 2020, when a Nigerian person who had communication with the Italian citizen was tracked down. The first coronavirus case in Akwa Ibom state was reported in April 2020, followed by another case in May 2020, in which a member of the Government House Press Corps tested positive for the dreaded Covid-19 disease (http://allafrica.com). According to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), there were 40,532 confirmed cases in Nigeria as of July 25, 2020, with 17,374 people recovering and 858 people declared deceased.

The daily global updates on coronavirus pandemic information, which are broadcast on radio stations, scrolled on television screens, and shared on social media, are extremely popular. More importantly, with the liberalization of Nigeria’s telecommunications industry, which has resulted in over 139 million active mobile phone users and an installed capacity of over 180 million lines (Monye, 2015), Nigerians’ reliance on the media during the Covid-19 Pandemic has skyrocketed. The media has a critical role to play in health promotion communication. According to Asogba (2019), who cites Quattrin, Filliputt, and Brusaferro (2015), the use of mass media to promote beneficial health behaviors can enhance public health programs.

Melvin DeFleur and Sandra Ball-Rokeach (1976) proposed the Media System Dependency hypothesis with little knowledge of the rise of the Internet. When DeFleur and Sandra Ball-Rokeach (1976) proposed the Media System Dependency hypothesis, they had no idea that social media would exist. The fundamental assumption of the Media System Dependency hypothesis is that in times of crisis or uncertainty, people will rely on the media for information in order to minimize anxiety and uncertainty. More importantly, in health emergency scenarios such as the coronavirus pandemic, the more individuals who rely on the media to meet their health demands, the increased essential the media’s position in their lives will become, resulting in more media influence on such people. As a result, the purpose of this study is to look into the use of mass media and social media in the fight against the spread of Corona Virus Disease.

Statement of the problem

The condition is largely respiratory in nature, with symptoms ranging from fever, cough, and mild shortness of breath to severe desaturation and respiratory failure. Despite the fact that the new virus causes lung damage in the form of adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), there have been instances of it causing a thromboembolic condition in the body, resulting in myocardial infarction and pulmonary embolism. In some patients, it can also lead to kidney failure. Droplets, airborne, or feco-oral spread, as well as contact spread, are all possible modes of transmission. Viruses have been reported to survive on surfaces for anywhere from a few hours to several days. This diverse spectrum of disease is concerning, and it is one of the reasons for the disease’s increased fatality rate. The internet is seen as a global medium. Controlling the transmission of disease is an essential prerequisite in an epidemic or pandemic. It necessitates early symptom assessment, rapid diagnostic actions, good home and hospice treatment, and appropriate preventive measures. This, in turn, necessitates the participation of various departments ranging from government to healthcare, media, and the general public. When a new virus or bacterial disease forms, it goes through a process of localized transmission, amplification in the spread, and finally remission with effective remedies. Control measures are implemented at each link in the chain. Anticipation of a widespread infection, early detection, effective containment, control and mitigation measures, and, finally, eradication are all part of the plan. According to the WHO, it entails the coordination of responders, as well as the effective deployment of resources. At each stage, the media plays an important role. People’s behavior and views are influenced by the way news is reported. This was investigated during the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak in China’s Shaanxi province. Yan Q. et al. published a study in 2016 that demonstrated how people’s reactions to media stories can shift and, as a result, how emerging disease control can be affected. The media’s coverage of the disease’s spread during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic heightened public fear and awareness. On the one hand, it aided people in taking necessary precautions. On the other side, due to incorrect articles published in some media, some individuals began stigmatizing diseased people. This is an example of how the interplay between media knowledge and illness control can be beneficial. After the SARS outbreak of 2003-2004, the media impact model was created to analyze the impact of the media on disease dynamics. This was ambiguous as to whether media has a generally favorable or negative impact, necessitating the need to expand the model and explore its effects. Again, the media played a role in the MERS outbreak in 2012. With technological improvements and increasing online accessibility to the general population, public awareness has risen dramatically, pushing improved adherence to critical public health policies. The influence of social media in the MERS pandemic in 2012 and the H7N9 epidemic in China was investigated, with the H7N9 epidemic exhibiting a stronger reaction. It emphasizes the significance of the subject of discussion.

Objective of the study

The study’s major goal is to evaluate the use of social media and other forms of mass media in the fight against the spread of Corona Virus Disease. The study’s objectives are as follows:

  1. Determine how reliant Uyo citizens were on the media for information during the Nigerian Covid-19 outbreak.
  2. Identify the most popular sources of information in Nigeria during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  3. Determine the role of each media in knowledge distribution during the covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria from the perspective of Uyo inhabitants.

Research question

In order to attain the research goal, the following research questions were formulated:

1. To what extent did inhabitants of Uyo rely on the media for information during the Nigerian Covid-19 pandemic?

2. What is the most popular source of information in Nigeria during the Covid-19 pandemic?

3. How do inhabitants of Uyo view the role of each media in spreading information during the Nigerian covid-19 pandemic?

Significance Of The Study

The study would allow key agencies working on coronavirus eradication in Akwa-state and Nigeria in general to assess the media framework for prospective changes or modernization. The study will examine how the media covered the rare virus’s emergence. The study examines rural people’s perceptions of the media as an institution concerned with their well-being, and then goes on to show how effective the media can be as a tool for mass education and mobilization for state policy implementation.

Scope/Limitation of the study

The study was conducted in Uyo, the state capital of Akwa-Ibom state in south-south Nigeria, on the critical examination of the use of social media and mass media in the campaign against the spread of Corona Virus Disease. It will cover the entire city of Uyo. Abak road, Ikot Ekpene road, Nwaniba road, Oron road, Aka road, and Wellington Bassey Way were the six clusters that made up Uyo metropolis.

DEFINITION OF TERMS

SOCIAL MEDIA: Interactive technologies that allow the development or sharing/exchange of information, ideas, career interests, and other kinds of expression via virtual communities and networks are known as social media.

MASS MEDIA: Mass media refers to a wide range of media technologies that use mass communication to reach a big audience. There are a multitude of outlets through which this communication is carried out. Films, radio, recorded music, and television are examples of broadcast media that transfer information electronically.

A CAMPAIGN is a planned course of action for achieving a specific goal.

CORONA VIRUS: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an illness caused by a novel coronavirus now known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; formerly known as 2019-nCoV), which was first discovered during a respiratory illness outbreak in the United States in 2009.

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