The year 2019 was a normal year until December when this normalcy was disturbed by the outburst of Corona Virus in Wuhan city of China. The villainous corona virus or Covid 19 has shattered humankind into pieces by killing people all around the globe. Within no time, the virus took a toll on social, cultural, mental, economical and every possible spheres of life. Despite the tragedy, people all over the world has been fighting hard against this unseen enemy with solidarity.
Role of Mass Media in Covid 19 pandemic
With the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic, mass media has been a crucial tool for information generation. Because people were confined to their houses, mass media was the only source to get information about the ongoing situation. People began to watch the news like never before to update themselves with facts. Not just the latest news updates but with an easy access to social media, people are making use of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc for personal and business updates. Even the government agencies interacted with the common people through social media to share information regarding the pandemic.
Negative effects of Media during the pandemic
At the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic, people were searching for all sorts of Covid 19 related articles and news and unfortunately a lot of misinformation has been circulated creating panic. Such misinformation and rumours manipulated the minds of the people leading to mental breakdown which further took a toll on the immune system. There has been cases where mentally weak people lost their lives after falling prey to rumours. However, many people were arrested for circulating fake news regarding Covid 19.
Positive effects of Media during the pandemic.
Keeping aside the negative aspect, the role of Mass Media is worthy of appreciation as it has been a constant source of making people aware about the DO’s and DON’T’s. News portals, social media users be it friends, family, health workers, politicians or celebrities encouraged people to stay in their homes, safe and healthy. People were encouraged to exercise and do yoga on everyday basis to boost their immune system. The Quarantine culture started to come in trend and people started embracing lockdown. The effect of Media on culture came to be more profound during the pandemic. We have seen people reviving their long lost hobbies, spending quality time with family which infact inspired many people to look back into their lives, taking a break from their hectic schedule.
But sadly, not everybody could embrace lockdown. This pandemic has been the worst nightmare for the wage workers, the migrant labourers and even the middle class section of the society to an extent. Fortunately, media came as a rescue for these people. When their plight was shown in the media, many influential people, NGOs came forward to help them with food, money, shelter, medical facilities and the like. Covid 19 has been extremely harsh for the elderly people especially with disabilities, people with serious ailments, people who lost their livelihood but people made use of Media platforms to raise funds and distribute money and essential items to the needy. Also in this pandemic, the term ‘Webinar’ has become quite popular. Many notable health workers, scholars and teachers kept in touch with people by conducting webinars to keep a check on each others’ mental health.
It can be seen that the role and impact of Mass Media in this pandemic is never ending. Like the two sides of a coin, mass media also have two sides – positive and negative. We, the people, must always approach the positive side and fight to overcome the virus. Also let us keep in mind what Malcolm said, “When I is replaced by We, illness becomes wellness.”