Download this article in PDF

COVID-19 through the lens of the media

Hartnett Bridget1,*, Niyigena Julien1, Nsanzabaganwa Christian2, Ndishimye Pacifique1, Hitimana Nadia3, Byiringiro Fidele2, Mutesa Leon4, Nsanzimana Sabin1, Kayumba Malick1

1Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Kigali, Rwanda 
2Rwanda Military Hospital, Kigali, Rwanda
3Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Kigali, Rwanda
4Centre for Human Genetics, University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda


COVID-19 has spread internationally, disrupting lives, communities, and economies worldwide. The rate and severity of the growing pandemic has become a crisis of international concern causing widespread feelings of confusion, panic, rumors, misconceptions, and fear. The pandemic spread has widely affected humanity in different aspects; the rate of information dissemination and information saturation has thus spread worldwide.


During a public health outbreak, a surge of information sharing and widespread coverage in the media is inevitable. However, in a time where information is more accessible than ever, the rapid spread of misinformation and false claims consequently has the potential to evoke feelings of panic or confusion to the public.

The media, therefore, plays an important role in mitigating the spread of misinformation and limiting feelings of panic and stigmatization by appropriately fact-checking sources of information, eliminating inaccurate content from reporting, and following appropriate communication guidelines before reporting.

Responsible reporting, from a media standpoint, encompasses appropriate message development, rumor control, and dissemination of messaging through reliable communication channels.


It is imperative for the media to maintain accuracy in shared and available information while delivering organized, timely, and informative messages to the public.

The media has the responsibility to mitigate misinformation by fact-checking, reviewing inaccurate content, and utilizing legitimate stories for the dissemination of information. 

The media plays a key role  in  decreasing  public panic, rumors, and stigma.

Social media platforms should, therefore, be used as a critical tool in disseminating timely and accurate information and to provide reliable guidance to the public.



By: Hartnett Bridget

Category: Outbreak report

Download this article in PDF



RPHB Chat Room

You are: