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Mass communication is the process of transmission of data and information to a huge scale of people through various mass media routes. A list of mass media instruments includes television, newspaper, online articles from new websites, magazine, radio and many other technologies that give the allowance of dissemination of information and data from the source to the mass public.
During the recent pandemic situation, mass media was the main responsible tool that helped in keeping aware of all the positive and negative developments. It shared new developments, important information, shared diagnostic treatment protocols through various approaches.
In this report, the role of media is elaborated in sharing a kind of event to the public. A highlight is given in this writing on the role that mass media played and how they navigated the whole Covid-19 pandemic situation updates to the public. The restrictions and problems which come in their way are also mentioned with few recommendations on how the mass media working process can be improved.
Mass media has always been in the role of a central character in people’s lives since it is the only way through which every individual gets informed about current events related to any new developments worldwide. Especially in context with public health issues, politics, scientific researches and a lot more things that mass media addresses to the huge public for making them aware of the current situation. The role of media is numerously from which few are stated below.
Mass media can be a catalyst for promoting health related new to the community. It placed the recent Covid-19 pandemic in front of the public light and shared the agendas of national healthcare centres for battling this pandemic (Gomber et al. 2017). Not only this but also it brought light on how people can fight this by spreading the do’s and don’ts’s to people. It stimulated the actions taken by the health guards and government to fight this pandemic.
The ubiquitous nature of mass news media turns it to a powerful tool that is used for directing the attention of people as well as government towards specific issues which needs to be focused on. According to Lu and Da Xu (2018), the people of U.K shared their thoughts about their media and said that they look the mass media as a window from which they sees the world around them.
The mass media is also responsible for shaping the thoughts and views of general public regarding any topic or any person. It can be either positive or negative. The coverage on each of the national, international or whether about local topics are coveraged by the media brings a huge concern to the public.
Few years back when HIV/Aids was the highlighted health issue, at that time also this same mass media proved themselves a good example of unfolding the important tool to bring light about the seriousness and made people aware (Melki et al. 2020).
Many of the times it has been seen that media can play a negative role also by spreading rumours or wrong information about anything which is hazardous because the public listening the news media gets wrongly informed. Lu and Da Xu (2018) stated that wrong or fake news is as dangerous as not being aware of some serious situation. Mass media, when distributing news can play either a good role or a bad role depending upon which its activities can be intended.
Starting from early age television to the recent social media handle, mass media is also the most common and constant tool for learning worldwide updates (Melki et al. 2020). The updates have embedded in them the potential positive and negative messages which reach millions of viewers each day and every single minute. So it is very much essential and important that the news spread by the mass media needs to be true from the sources ad don’t put bad influences on people with fake news or rumours (Gomber et al. 2017). Otherwise it will have negative results on the world nation and worldwide.
Cyberspace, Mass media and Internet as the new form of Public spheres
United Kingdom has always expanded their media functionality by adding activities like opinions, criticisms and comments beside rather than just informing the news to public. The UK media facilitates sharing the news by the way of a debating nature between the educated class of society and the bourgeoisies. In recent days, the mass social media is the face of newest product in the on-going revolution in the communication technology field. As disclosed by Weed (2020), both the terms Public sphere and Public opinion are the strong connected with the actions of mass media along with the democratic theory.
Internet also plays the role of the newest form of public sphere which facilitates the discussions promoting the exchange of new opinions and ideas. The exchange of ideas and interaction between people on social media platforms like, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and others have reached to higher level (Mozaffarian et al. 2018). In case of the recent updates about the past year natural calamities and pandemic situations also the mass media space and social media platforms has contributes a lot in making people aware about the changes going on. The UK public environment shows many instances as examples where the local public offers huge respect and thanks to the media persons for continuously working in epidemic situations also (Jang et al. 2019).
Public reviews and thoughts about UK mass media covering the UK government’s Covid-19 responses
The UK people have some kind of spilt opinion on the ways of media coverage of the pandemic. Some people said that the mass media has not critically covered enough of the government responses are about 30%. The second zone people who think that the media was fair enough in covering government response and passing it to the public are nearly 28% in numbers (Buer et al. 2018). And 29% of people thought the media was too critical while covering the pandemic news.
Many people of UK shared their feeling about fake or false knowledge of UK government’s responses of the Covid-19 pandemic in several studies and surveys (link.springer.com 2021). Nearly about 32% people think that false and misleading information was passing from political individuals from the government and 31% was coming from the news organisations. Adding to this 33% of the misleading information on Covid-19 was spreading from the local and common people personally themselves who have no knowledge about that (journals.plos.org 2021).
Despite such important investigation reports and researches, 35 % people think that the Covid-19 situation in United Kingdom has been made worse only by the news media than the actual situation (journals.plos.org 2020). Only 7% people think that media trials were better and 46% people have mixed thoughts neither that media coverage neither made any better nor any worse.
Many UK respondent rated the news organisations of UK are relatively trustworthy as sources of information regarding the Covid-19 pandemic situation (bmj.com 2020). But later this trust of people has dropped from the UK government and individual politicians also. These decline in trusts of public are greater than the previous just a slight erosion of trust in transmissioned information regarding Covid-19 from the other sources (Melki et al. 2020).
Majority UK common people have said that news media has helped them in understand what they should do and what they should not during this epidemic condition. According to Lu and Da Xu (2018), around 20% responders have strong feeling that the government responses of UK regarding the Covid-19 situation is heading towards right direction which will do good for the common people on the other hand 29% strongly feel the government’s responsive direction is wrong.
Role of mass media in Covid-19 pandemic situation
UK mass media showed a great advantage of themselves during the Covid-19 pandemic situation by putting rapid impact on the dissemination of all the required educational contents regarding the Covis-19 period.
That is the UK mass media who developed an infographic tool as a method about the airway management information about the patients who are suspected with the positivity of the Covid-19 virus disease (Gomber et al. 2017). This infographic data was shared through the Wechat and Twitter social media platform. And in very less time this infographic tool was requested to translate into more than ten languages so that more people can understand the method. Zhang and Shaw (2020) argued that the distribution of the infographic tool allowed the adaptation of particularities of each of the healthcare setting round the globe.
The faster the dissemination of data was spread the faster the preventive measures were discovered and used with lot of potential in it. As disclosed by Weed (2020), a recent study revealed that when the YouTube media platform was evaluated the most searched key term found on that is the word “Covid-19” or “Corona Virus”. This showed that how the media can do well to the common people.
A survey of YouTube presented a report which says that less than 1/3 of the video on YouTube viewed were about the preventive measures, less than half were about the symptoms and 90% of the videos have comments like anxiety, deaths and quarantine situations (Mozaffarian et al. 2018). These studies leaves a crucial reflection related to the missed dissemination opportunities on the prevention of contagious and frequent symptoms of Covid-19 on media tools which are being considered as a source of consulted informative data (Jang et al. 2019).
Adding to this, the other tools such as internet downloads, queries and citations of the dissemination of scientific literature articles about Covis-19 spreads knowledge which were also rapid but might be slow as compared with internet media (Buer et al. 2018). The sharing of all these information to the common people helped them to understand what’s good and what’s bad in the situation and calms down their anxiety and reduces their panic with clear and trusted data sources.
Prescribed roles and Public Perception: The common population of UK is diverse in its nature which clears that their choices and thought will also be diverse. According to statistics, despite the various in races, the television broadcasting network, big publications and other mass media forms present the minorities as heavily stereotypical and two dimensional characters (bmj.com 2020). Also the stereotyping the third gender or other genders except men and women and people with disabilities in mass media platforms also became a source of concern. This changes the perception of people of majority towards the minority people. Still major race people are taken as standard and central figure in media narratives which becomes very dominant on the trends from current events to politics.
Femininity in the mass media: In many different shows actresses and other female characters plays the role of house makers doing house jobs and chores such as cooking, cleaning, decorating home and staying at home (journals.plos.org 2020). This kind of portrayal of females and women undoubtedly sounds back dated to today’s modern audiences. This traditional portrayal of females stereotypes the gender role continuously to thrive the mass media. This issue of the mainstream mass media is contrasting from the real today’s women because nowadays women are no less than men and can do all the things which men can do or can be better said as females can do better than men in all aspects. If calculated the indulgence of men and women in mass media field, it can be seen that the proportion is majorly unequal since very less women choose their career in mass media and multi-dimensional media platforms and somehow this lags their progress also (Mozaffarian et al. 2018).
Minority exclusion: A major problem of mass media communication is minority exclusion which is still present in today’s modern society. In previous times there was negligence showed openly in mass media towards the minor communities whether in entertainment or in other aspects (journals.plos.org 2021). But with time passing and changing trends this minority exclusion has reduced up to a limit but not fully. It is still present in the society. And this dominance is shown in entertainment sector also. Despite these changes and public’s greater vision and attention relating to the diverse issues, the minority underrepresentation is still a problem in all of the aspects and areas of mass media (Melki et al. 2020). In fact, the changing tends un the recent past years, the time has been regressive.
Racial stereotypes: The problem of racial stereotypes is present not only in entertainment industry but also in sectors like journalism, editors and reporters too. These fields are still predominantly casts the majority in it. Many press releases themselves have presented reports about the lesser number of minority group people participating in mass media sectors. The situations have not improved since the past few decades (link.springer.com 2021). According to a census, the minority group pole working in the mass media sectors are scantly just a per cent of 13.52 as journalist, editors and news readers.
Despite latest and modern methods and techniques, the mass media has gaps and drawbacks in itself which can be resolved with time if taken care of with focus and joining hands of people together. Few of the areas of improvement are recommended which can resolve the problems and improve the media sector are disclosed below.
Risks are very much common in every sector, so there needed a risk culture management to develop throughout the society. Risk culture means making the people aware of the risks and also how to take preventive and protective measure and action for that.
Journalists need to be rapid and clear in responding and collecting information from sources and then delivering them according to the needs. The experts must be trained while working at the source institutions to meet the needs.
Establishing an improved regular channel focusing on the recent developing and upcoming risks rather than just reporting the crisis report must be done. More elaborated network structures are needed with multiple partnerships to establish trust of common people over time.
The above written report is about the mass media and its indulgence in the recent Covid-19 pandemic situation. Many people of UK shared their feeling about fake or false knowledge of UK government’s responses of the Covid-19 pandemic in several studies and surveys .Some drawbacks of the mass media sectors were also shown above which can be resolved. The ubiquitous nature of mass news media turns it to a powerful tool that is used for directing the attention of people as well as government towards specific issues which needs to be focused on. Some recommendations were given too whose adaptation can make difference in the mass media industry. Despite these changes and public’s greater vision and attention relating to the diverse issues, the minority underrepresentation is still a problem in all of the aspects and areas of mass media. This infographic data was shared through the Wechat and Twitter social media platform. Finally it can be concluded that in this critical pandemic period, the mass media has helped a lt in spreading awareness leaving behind the loopholes in it.
Gomber, P., Koch, J.A. and Siering, M., 2017. Digital Finance and FinTech: current research and future research directions. Journal of Business Economics, 87(5), pp.537-580.
Lu, Y. and Da Xu, L., 2018. Internet of things (iot) cybersecurity research: A review of current research topics. IEEE Internet of Things Journal, 6(2), pp.2103-2115.
Melki, J., Tamim, H., Hadid, D., Farhat, S., Makki, M., Ghandour, L. and Hitti, E., 2020. Media Exposure and Health Behavior during Pandemics: The Mediating Effect of Perceived Knowledge and Fear on Compliance with COVID-19 Prevention Measures. Health Communication, pp.1-11.
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