The rapid rush of hoax information created an Infodemic condition that led to mass panic. Proper public communication is needed by creating a narrative that calms the public.
IO, Jakarta, 10 July 2021 – The speed and level of misinformation and disinformation circulating in the public arena has reached the Infodemic level. The role of Public Relations (PR) practitioners is needed to guide public communication in order to help reduce mass panic that occurs in the community. Infodemic is a condition where too much information spreads quickly but is inaccurate and tends to be negative.
“This infodemic could be more dangerous than a pandemic. The danger is unnecessary mass panic, which will ultimately cost us. So there is panic buying of masks, vitamins, oxygen. Goods are becoming scarce and prices are rising sharply,” said Jojo S. Nugroho, Chairman of the Association of Indonesian Public Relations Companies (APPRI) after the online awarding of Influential PR Figures from the MAW Talks Awards, July 9, 2021.
According to him, the current condition of the community actually needs sanity to think because bad news continues to hit. The number of victims of Covid-19 which was previously seen as a statistic has now become more real and relevant because the people who died are now the closest people. Feelings of anxiety and fear plus not knowing what to do and in what way, are exacerbated by the intake of false and negative information that explodes. This, said Jojo, cannot be tolerated and must be fought with true and positive facts.
“Wrong and negative news, if it comes repeatedly without being corrected, will be considered by the public as the truth. In fact, people’s anxiety and worry must be managed so that immunity does not decrease,” said the man who is also the Managing Director of Imogen PR.
The role of public relations or PR practitioners is very important to help the spread of hoax information related to the Covid-19 issue can be stopped by understanding and verifying the source, and then providing clarification through a medium that is accessed by the public. In addition, providing media literacy so that the public can sort out and validate information so as not to be carried away by the flow of hoax propaganda. Some points that the community can consider, for example, looking for reliable sources
avoiding news with a single source and checking with related sources or trusted national media. “Get in the habit of identifying and thinking critically — is the source credible? verify and crosscheck the material through various sources. Be alert but there is no need to panic,” he said.
The role of mass media as social control should also work so that the Infodemic can be suppressed. The media must present neutral and reliable information and not panic the masses. PR figures must also help lead a narrative that calms the public,” said one of the 10 Influential PR Figures according to the 2021 MAW Talks Awards.
The MAW Talks Awards 2021 selects 10 Influential PR Figures from hundreds of candidates with the criteria of producing quite important and significant innovations in the PR field over the past year. The 10 figures are VP Corporate Communication of PT Pegadaian (Persero) Basuki Tri Andayani, VP of Corporate Communication of PT Telkomsel Denny Abidin, President of IABC Chapter Indonesia Elvera N Makki, Head of the Communication Department of Bank Indonesia Erwin Haryono, VP Corporate Communication of PT Pertamina (Persero) Fajriyah Usman, VP Corporate Communication of PT Telkom Indonesia (Persero) Tbk Pujo Pramono, Head of Communication and Information Services Bureau of the Ministry of Finance Rahayu Puspasari, General Chairperson of the Indonesian Public Relations Company Association (APPRI) Jojo Suharjo Nugroho, Head of the Ministry of Health’s Communication and Public Service Bureau , SVP Corporate Communication of PT Pupuk Indonesia (Persero) Wijaya Laksana. The characters chosen in this event are influential figures who use their hearts in their works, actions, and ways of communicating.