The Pandemic Infodemic: The Role of Risk Communication and Media in a Pandemic


  • Deniz Sezgin Assoc. Prof
  • Yeşim Sert Karaaslan
  • İbrahim Ersoy


Coronavirus disease outbreak in Wuhan City in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019, soon spread to over a hundred countries. In March 2020, WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Carrying high numbers of cases and mortality rates, far-reaching consequences of the global pandemic continues to be the prime global agenda. Communication efforts were maintained continuously during the epidemic to inform the public, raise awareness, take precautions and to eventually mitigate the pandemic so as to prevent the national health system from collapsing. Media played a key role as the public and health authorities disclosed information. Nevertheless, modern communication technologies and the infodemic spreading from social media hindered the communication of accurate information. Given the insufficient health literacy in Turkey, the rapidly changing and unstable pandemic environment resulted in information gaps and in overlooked information. The significance of critical media literacy and health literacy, particularly in digital media, was once again underlined. This study evaluates the influence of risk communication and media on society during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the study assesses important concerns for media during risk periods, including a pandemic.