South Africa: Journalism and the Pandemic - Searching for a Silver Lining Within the Many Dark Clouds


The barrage of disinformation and misinformation that journalists confront in their daily work testifies to the scale of the 'disinfodemic' accompanying Covid-19 itself.

Last week, we published our initial findings from the first large-scale global survey of journalists since the Covid-19 crisis began. These findings are both startling and disturbing. Disinformation on the pandemic is coming from every direction, sources are scared to talk to journalists for fear of reprisals, and journalists themselves have much to fear.

The survey was conducted by the Journalism and the Pandemic Project - a collaborative research initiative from the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. We launched the project in April to study the impacts of Covid-19 on journalism worldwide. We also wanted to assess our field's most critical needs, and to help inform the post-pandemic recovery, recognising that professional journalism is an essential public service in times of crisis, and a pillar of vibrant democracies.

Our first findings are based on an analysis of 1,406 English-language survey respondents representing 125 countries, including South Africa. It is clear from our research (which is ongoing) that many journalists covering this devastating human story, at great personal...

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