Does the Role of the Media Help in Increasing or Reducing Panic During Disasters?

The media plays a pivotal role especially during periods of disaster and general unrest. The media’s role during periods of disasters has been tested especially with the recent spiraling of the global pandemic.

For instance, the media despite its pros has become a double-edged sword during the global pandemic. This becomes the backdrop upon which the cons of the media have emerged. Users on Collected.Reviews state that the media can help reduce individual anxiety through the consistent update and outline of information and important details.

But, with the global pandemic, it has become glaring that it also serves as a source of anxiety and relentless panic in most cases. Most read client’s reviews suggest that the effect of the media in times of global hysteria and distress is directly linked to an individual and nothing to do with the media itself.

Yet, we cannot wipe off or turn a blind eye to how the excessive influx of information by the media affects the human psyche, especially in extremely critical times.

It’s not enough to pick any particular side i.e. saying it reduces or increases panic. The logical answer is that it plays both roles interchangeably. Some of the ways the media’s roles manifest during periods of disaster include:

1.      Information:

As the primal duty of the media is to create awareness surrounding any issue, it focuses its strength on achieving this. With the global pandemic as a great instance, media houses, social media platforms included became a placeholder in passing information across. It occurred in how steady awareness was created around the virus, and how charts were outlined. In the bid to pass across this information, media houses devised some new mechanics. For social media, this was mostly achieved through the use of infographics—pictures as a tool for drawing attention to information.

2.      Details:

In passing across information, the media piques the interest of people while also curbing their anxiety through the details it constantly draws out. While these are some of the ways the media’s role reduces panic during a disaster through information accessibility, this also results in consequences which in turn increases panic during a disaster.

3.      Psychological Effects:

Information is key, but there is a level of effect so much information can cause us in times of general hysteria. Being inundated with information often increases the anxiety level of many people. The global pandemic made this evident. Over time, people have begun to consciously neglect certain media information to manage their mental health.

4.      Misinformation:

While the media thrives on information, in periods of disaster, certain people use the media as an avenue to create false news and information about current issues which in turn affects the validity of most information.

The role of the media in increasing or reducing panic during a disaster is not clearly defined. Therefore, the media plays both roles but largely revels in reducing panic through awareness during disasters.