Covid-19: Arab media played major role in virus fight, says UAE researcher
Dr. Yusuf Al Hosni was speaking at the Muslim Council of Elders conference in Jordan.
The Arab media has played a pivotal role in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had devastating effects on the region, by spreading health awareness campaigns and preventive measures, a senior UAE researcher told the Muslim Council of Elders conference in Jordan.
Dr. Yusuf Al Hosni, UAE researcher and former diplomat, in his presentation on the second day of the “Media against Hate” conference in Amman, said the unprecedented outbreak of the pandemic caught everyone across the world off-guard as this was a new disease.
“All nations struggled to learn about the best ways of how to deal with the new virus and control its rapid spread so as to protect their people, which was quite challenging,” said Al Hosni. “But the media played an important role in focusing on positive information and educating people on how they can protect themselves from the virus. The Arab media has acted as a tool in communication and spreading important news about the pandemic including highlighting government policies and measures to help control the spread of the virus.”
He, however, noted that there was a problem of wrong information being spread by some media in the region, which caused panic among people.
“There was also an absence of scientific research about the virus in many Arab countries,” said Al Hosni. “As journalists, we have learned from the pandemic the values of co-existence and solidarity because it has brought people of various religions together to fight the virus.”
The Emirati researcher also noted that while encountering the pandemic, nations across the world focused on Covid-19 and neglected other diseases such as malaria, polio, tuberculosis and others leading to increased morality rates.
Nahani Halmi, media advisor and human rights activist in Jordan said there have been some people especially the magnalised and those in refugee camps who became victims of hate speech due to the pandemic.
“The Covid-19 pandemic caused major health system problems and fuelled the emergence of misinformation regarding the origin of the virus and the preventive measures,” she said. “Social media was used a lot by people who spread fake information about Covid-19, it’s cure and vaccination, which caused a lot of confusion and panic among people,” she said.
Halmi, however, pointed out that the use of credible social media channels has had a positive effect on the level of public health awareness concerning how to control the spread of the virus and the reliability of some natural remedies used during the pandemic.
The experts, who gathered for the two-day conference, also discussed the impact of legislation and media charters and the responsibility of official and syndicate media institutions in confronting hate speech.
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