Mass Communications and the Influence of Information During Times of Crises
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Mass Communications and the Influence of Information During Times of Crises

Mohammed Nasser Al-Suqri (Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman), Obaid Said Al-Shaqsi (Media Training Center, Oman) and Jamal Mattar Alsalmi (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman)
Pages: 300|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7503-1
ISBN13: 9781799875031|ISBN10: 1799875032|EISBN13: 9781799875055|ISBN13 Softcover: 9781799875048


Although global pandemics are not a new phenomenon, the spread of COVID-19 in 2020 has taken place in a very different information environment to that which existed even at the time of the SARS pandemic less than two decades ago. In today’s world, information plays a critical role in all areas of life, with much of this being delivered via the Internet and social media. People have access to unprecedented amounts of information from both official and unofficial sources. These channels and the connectivity they provide are important in enabling authorities to obtain information necessary for use in managing a pandemic, and as communication tools to support implementation of pandemic management strategies and measures. But social media and other online forms of communication can also hinder official efforts to manage the crisis, with vast amounts of fake news and misinformation being posted and shared. The traditional media also play a key role in global pandemics, with newspapers, television and radio news being an important source of information for many people, and overall rates of news consumption typically increasing at this time. The information that individuals receive from all these channels, and their attitudes and responses to this information, are likely to influence their behaviours in ways that may support or hinder government efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

Since this is the first time a global pandemic has occurred in the context of a largely digital information environment, little was previously known about the role of information and the media in pandemic management in this type of information environment. The book is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of research conducted into the role of information and the media during the COVID-19 pandemic and provide a better understanding of how to use these as tools for managing pandemics in the event of future similar global health crises.

A considerable number of peer-reviewed academic articles have already been published which examine various aspects of information, communications and the media in pandemic management, and how these can hinder or support such efforts. This book addresses the need to pull together the key themes and insights of this research into a single volume, which is both robust and research-based but also accessible.

The book is targeted at anyone with an interest in understanding how information, the media and communications play an important role in the management of a pandemic or epidemic. It is expected to be of particular interest and value to government policymakers, public health authorities, and information and communications specialists, as well as academic researchers and students in a wide range of public health and information-related disciplines.

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

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