Public Session 1

Infodemic: How the International Media Impacted the Pandemic

This session will examine the role of the international media in the unprecedented context of the 2020 novel coronavirus pandemic. As countries rushed to implement protective measures against the spread of the virus, it quickly became clear that Covid-19 had become a part of everyday life all around the world. Initial international media coverage of the pandemic was intense as the disease continued to make headlines each passing day. The session will outline the involvement of international media in developing a narrative around the pandemic including, but not limited to, alleged censorship of fact-based health information by China during the early days of the pandemic. And this pandemic has led to the ‘infodemic’ that resulted from misinformation about the disease and its impact being spread via media channels. The session will also highlight changes in consumption patterns of media, particularly social media, and what that may mean for the future as countries begin to envision and construct a post-pandemic world.

Discussion Themes

This session intends to discuss the following:

• How did the international media impact people’s understanding of the Covid-19 pandemic?

• What impact did international media coverage have on the growth of stigma and racism associated with the pandemic?

• Against the backdrop of the pandemic, what role does the international media have vis-à-vis heightened political tensions in the world?

• How can we better prepare journalists and editors for such an occurrence in the future?

• What lessons have been learned from how the international media covered the pandemic and its impacts? How can media play a constructive role in helping to mitigate the impacts of similar crises in the future?