When little known COVID-19 hit Nigeria, and the index case was reported, there were so many people running amok with falsehoods, overblown projections and fake photos and videos. In some people’s words, Nigeria wasn’t only dealing with a pandemic, an ‘infodemic’ was also a big problem.
Media houses – electronic, print and social media held the fight against this infodemic at its scruff and battled it headlong. The battle is still ongoing with reportage of the disease taking a huge portion of daily news content for months.
While some media houses took their time to educate Nigerians on the disease, its infectivity and virulence, others worked hard on doing daily reports, and monitoring the progress or developments recorded by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
In the fight against COVID-19, the media have been one of the best partners of the federal government, putting out constructive criticism, and hailing its hard work when it is deserving of one.
It hasn’t been a smooth sailing for these media houses, with many struggling to maintain status quo amid the realities of the biting pandemic. However, they’ve hardly rested on their oars and even when everyone else seems tired and less concerned about the disease, some media houses have kept the chase, reporting daily updates by the federal government and the NCDC and also finding more information on the disease.
The media houses that have chosen to be harbingers of fake news have also been quietly and effectively shelled in the reckoning as there have been good campaigns against bad reportage.
Organisations like KnowCOVIDNG and others have been set up primarily for the purpose of informing Nigerians and shielding them from the information degeneration that is being shown by some media houses.
Although the work is not over yet, with the disease still much around and coverage in communities still yearning to be better, it is a good point of note to celebrate the Nigerian media for its steadfastness and poise in reporting COVID-19 the right way.
It is as a result of this that the Nigerian media are our #ALEDEHCOVID19Heroes for the week.