Information in the COVID-19 Era: Between the Reality and the Fantasy

Dec 16, 2020 - 01:14
Jan 25, 2021 - 01:14
Information in the COVID-19 Era: Between the Reality and the Fantasy

Written By Ngozi Perpetual Osuchukwu

Information is a great resource, no doubt. Now, when it is embellished with literacy and use of media, it becomes more value added. The use of graphics, tables, figures, pictures and data has made information to be easier for some people. This is what information on COVID-19 comes with, majorly. The essence is to ensure deep understanding from the elite, the average, the children and the illiterate. The picture and graphics depict simple messages to be followed without too much grammar, thus reaching everyone, everywhere and everytime. But then, it still requires  some level of information literacy to pick the real message that is authentic and authoritative.

The various sources of information packaged in many formats on COVID-19 have become sources of worry. One begins to wonder which is true and which is false. It becomes so bad when many people do not even check the authenticity of what they see or read. For this group, they waste no time in forwarding or copying and pasting. All they care for is to be the first to share the sensational information without caring about the authenticity and the aftermath.

Over the social media and internet, various information criss-cross at alarming frequencies, causing great stress. But one thing remains certain: COVID-19 is real and we must not joke with it. Thus, it becomes necessary that some sort of sanity is employed to minimize misinformation, disinformation, malinformation and various fake news, for health sustainability. 

It is on this note that Nigerian Library Association themed the 2020 Library Week “Library and Information Services During and After COVID-19”. This is to ensure that effective information and updates are shared to every sector. All the guidelines and protocols established by NCDC must be duly followed. 

In view of this, information and messages are packaged in different media and taken to different schools and public places to remind everyone the importance of staying safe while using the facemask, regular hand washing and use of sanitizer. Let no one be decieved to play with his health. Health is basic and life is dear. 

We enjoin everyone to keep taking safe actions. Be part of herald of authentic message instead of sharing or posting what you are not sure of. Shun information misconduct, add your voice and take actions in creating the society we want. To stop misinformation in this COVID-19 era, there must be sanity in sharing messages. It is the acceptable way of building safe humanity and community. Thus, with misinformation and disinformation under control, the exaggerated and inaccurate information will be reduced to the barest minimum. Achieving this requires the supports of both individuals and groups. We must join hands to sanitise and edify the society by saying no to fake information.

About the Author:

Mrs. Ngozi Perpetual Osuchukwu (CLN) is the Secretary General, Nigerian Library Association, Anambra State Chapter.

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Chidi Igwe I was born in Nigeria and trained in Canada. With a Master of Arts in linguistics from the University of Regina, and PhD from Dalhousie University, I am currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Regina. I have taught French language and linguistics in various institutions, including the French Language Centre, Awka and Dalhousie University, Halifax. I am the author of Taking Back Nigeria from 419, published in 2007, and many scholarly articles in reputable academic journals. I am a passionate servant of the people.