ISAFISPEAK #6 : The COVID-19 Infodemic: In Times of Crisis is Everyone Allowed to have an Opinion?
The world is struggling to face a double crisis, namely the COVID-19 pandemic and the infodemic related to COVID-19. Unfortunately, as if the COVID-19 pandemic alone is not enough to be troubling, the world must also face the infodemic regarding COVID-19, which further exacerbates the flow of information and knowledge between experts, government and the general public.
So, let’s find out what ISAFIS members think about this topic.
“In my opinion, everyone should be allowed to express their struggle and vexation with the limitation of not spreading fake news and crossing other people’s rights and boundaries. Opinion based on one’s own experiences and situations is valid. But what concerns the most is during times of crisis like this, misinformation tends to spread more quickly. Of course, the best case is to educate ourselves with the current pandemic situation. I think it’s mandatory for us all to get a grasp of basic information and knowledge on what’s happening right now in our world.”
“I do believe that determining who does or doesn’t have sufficient knowledge can be quite tricky. As long as the person who voices out their opinion doesn’t harm anyone with their opinion and doesn’t make people stop believing the credible sources that are scientifically proven, I think it’s fine for them to voice out their opinion. However, if someone without sufficient knowledge lets out their opinion and it is harmful to the public as it consists of misinformation and it leads to many people believing that information, I think that’s unethical..”
“I am in no place to deem who is right or wrong amid this information battle. However, I believe that the ultimate key to navigating through this space by having justified facts and logical reasonings (just as Patrick Stokes stated). True to the nature of science, any reality is possible as long as there are logical reasonings and credible arguments backing it up. With that being said, if a person has no credentials to talk about COVID-19, yet took the time to research and gather (credible) data to back their perspective, then maybe we should listen to their ideas and digest them with a grain of salt. I think that that’s an ethical approach as well as we are still upholding human rights values while perfecting the human knowledge.”
“In these trying times it would be the best for the government to step up and crack down on elements that are harmful to the general public (for example misinformation, hoaxes, those who incite unrest etc.) This would be a good opportunity for them to regain the trust of the people which they may have lost. I also believe that in these situations, the rights of the community is paramount to the rights of the individual.”