By Lloyd Takawira
Conflicts and conspiracies that have dominated the covid-19 pandemic period are a result of an information gap that is exercebated by an ineffective governmment information dissemination protocol on covid-19 issues.
Speaking during an online workshop organized by the Center for Conflict Management and Transportation (CCMT) and Zimbabwe Online Content Creators (Zocc) on Conflict Sensative Reporting Training : ‘Debunking disinformation during COVID-19’ , many journalists said that there is lack of information available from relevant governmment departments about covid-19 thus fueling conflicts and conspiracies in communities during COVID-19 pandemic period .
For ZimDaily journalist Yvonne Muchaka , governmment information dissemination protocols are weak thus fueling conflicts on covid-19 in communities.
“There is not enough data available on various covid-19 issues such as vaccines. That is why conflict is now inflamed. People are left to speculate over many issues. As journalists it’s difficult to package information which sometimes is not availed to us , hence social media becames the source of information available to the people,” said Yvonne .
Masvingo Mirror editor, Nkulumani Mlambo said lack of information has fueled various conspiracies that have dominated the covid-19 pandemic period.
“The information is shallow. There is no opaqueness in the whole covid-19. There is no enough information on vaccination. Therefore people people are left to speculate.”
However, Health Times Editor in Chief, Michael Gwarisa urged journalists to be proactive not reactive.
He said ,”Journalist must be proactive not to be reactive . They must demand information from governmment . This will fill the information gap that has been occupied by social media thus causing unnecessary spreading of wrong information that has caused conflicts during COVID-19 pandemic period”
CCMT Tungamirai Nyamakura challenged to report accurate information so as to end conflicts that are being caused by disinformation.
He said: ,”journalists should commit to fair accurate information reporting thus it will debunk conflict caused by misinformation …”
He also said that journalists have a big role to unite people especially during pandemic periods like these through responsible reporting.
“Journalists have a big role in the process of ending conflicts by reporting well.”
The Covid-19 pandemic period has seen a rise in misinformation. According the World Health Organization (WHO 2020) False information on #COVID19 is spreading & putting people in danger. [email protected]
This story was published in partnership with Center for Conflict Management and Transportation (CCMT) and Zimbabwe Online Content Creators (Zocc)