Positive info on social media must to remove COVID-19 stigma

DHAKA, May 02, 2020 (BSS) – Speakers at a virtual seminar here today called for spreading positive news on social platforms to remove fear and stigma associated with the coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic in Bangladesh.

The speakers made their remarks on live chat through a Webinar on “Rapid Assessment of Fear and Stigma Associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic in Bangladesdriveh” arranged by Bangladesh Health Watch.

Webinar convener Ahmed Mushtaque R Chowdhury conducted it while panel speakers Dr Shahaduz Zaman of Sussex University, UK, and Prof Sumon Rahman of University of Liberal Arts, Bangladesh presented their concerned assessments on fear and stigma associated with the coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic in Bangladesh.

Besides, a total of 81 more participants also joined the webinar simultaneously.The speakers said polarization of information happens when various news spread online and as a result people become confused about all.

They urged media to be more optimistic in publishing coronavirus pandemic related news so that people cannot be stigmatized.

They suggested publishing news from one trusted source or one definite place to avoid confusion over coronavirus.

They said information and data of people of all strata, areas and regions of the country should be collected precisely to identify corona patients.

The speakers said stigma and fear were unfolded during the ongoing pandemic in the country when people were kept in quarantine or isolation for coronavirus infection.

They said people of the society started fearing corona affected people,including quarantined expatriates and neighbors, amid the ongoing pandemic.

However, absolute public safety cannot be ensured during the crisis as the disease is almost unknown to all till now.

They also called for enforcement of legislation to stop discrimination,softening the house lock- down process, coordinated and targeted information dissemination and anti-stigma media campaign.

They called upon all to stand by the government in the present crisis in the country for combating the coronavirus outbreak.