Information Flow on Covid-19 During the Pandemic and the Formation of Public Opinion
Among the streams of scientific and social information in the global information space in 2020-2021, information related to COVID-19 attracted special attention. On the one hand, these information products differed in type, since scientific information products, public opinion, expert opinions, political speeches, and statistical information were widely available on the social network. On the other hand, the reliability of the disseminated information product raises serious questions, which, on the one hand, can be aimed at disinformation. Given the complexity of this picture, in this article we will try to classify information products by COVID-19 and focus on the problem of the reliability of statistics in the field of medicine and health, which is of particular importance. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the civilization of the 21st century has collapsed. As a result, people’s access to reliable information has dropped to an even lower level than ever before. The article is intended to classify circulating information products on the topic of COVID-19, to follow the path of statistical information in the field of medicine and health, and also to assess the reliability of information “at the last address.” Since we are aware of the diversity of parties who transmit, receive, process and benefit from statistical information, this process must be driven by one stakeholder. If we accept that the reliability of information is a conditional concept, then it is important to determine the criteria for evaluating information.
Information about “COVID-19: Information flow; Medical statistics; Information society; Information technology
In recent years, in the flow of scientific and social information in the global information space, information about COVID-19 has become especially popular and attractive. These information products were very diverse, as were scientific information products, personal opinions disseminated on social networks, “fantastic generalizations”, public opinion, expert opinions, political speeches, and statistical information .
The reliability of the information product in circulation also raises serious questions, which, on the one hand, can be deliberate disinformation. On the other hand, as a result of the daily “social pressure”, the reliability of the statistics was in doubt. Given the complexity of the situation, we will try classify information products on the topic “COVID-19” and pay attention to the problem of the reliability of statistical information in the field of medicine and health, which is of particular importance. If we take into account that in this direction interests, commercial interests and problems of organized security of human society oppose and create a conflict, then the relevance of the issue becomes even more pronounced.
Many believe that in the face of a pandemic, the civilization of the 21st century has not stood the test. Democrats, liberals, socialists put aside fundamental values, and the idea of “every man for himself” remained. As a result, people’s access to reliable information has dropped to an even lower level than ever before. It is important to classify information products in circulation on the subject of COVID-19, to trace the path of statistical information in the field of medicine and health and to assess the reliability of information at the final address. Since we know the variety of parties that transmit, receive, process and benefit from statistical information, this process must be driven by one and the same stakeholder. If we accept that the reliability of information is a “conditional concept”, then it is important to determine the criteria for evaluating information. At the end of this process, an important event occurs, such as the formation of public opinion. Everyone is interested in this process.
In the past two years, the global information space, together with the system of democratic values, had to pass the “pandemic test”. Although it is too early to assess the results, some generalizations can be made. In a very large flow of information, complex structural processes were taking place in order to “try to classify them.”
Among the information about COVID-19, a special place is occupied by information disseminated through official channels, statements by heads of state, speeches by politicians. This type of information should be noted first. Thus, people consider the statements of politicians and heads of state important because they are based on serious scientific information, and they trust such information, which is why we call it the first information channel. As the second channel of information, it should be noted the flow of “scientific information”, which is mainly distributed through special sources, mainly for specialists, and is often incomprehensible to the consumer of information. Let’s define it as the second information channel. As a third information channel, statistical information was widely disseminated, and people wanted to trust this information, draw conclusions and evaluate what was happening. Let’s call this direction the third information channel.
Fourth, the “gossip” circulating mainly on social networks boiled down to the fact that her weight increased during the pandemic. Knowing that the role of social networks in shaping public opinion is great, let us call it the fourth information channel. Despite the fact that these information channels have existed and functioned at all times, during the pandemic they were unique and we will try to “analyze” this difference .
The global information space has made it possible for people to be organized. They tracked news about mortality, prevalence and adherence to various treatment methods, studied the experience of different countries, people were sensitive to all information about the pandemic.
In social networks, proposals for “the introduction of disinfectants into the internal organs” of the head of state, Chinese folk remedies, “treatment for alcohol” in Russia, and “spice treatment” in India were widely discussed. However, the world’s leading research centers collect and analyze information that can be used in scientific research, and corporate and commercial interests have been at the center of attention in bringing the results to the public. It is noteworthy that the experts, who argued that the statistics collected were meaningless, also presented only statistics on the reliability of vaccines. The effectiveness of vaccines, as you know, will only be determined over time.
Information about “vaccines” and “drugs” was also tracked, the slightest information was widely discussed. The World Health Organization and the major powers were unable to counter the commercial interests of “vaccines” and “drugs,” and the “information war” eventually collapsed. Opinions vary as to whether the disinformation being disseminated is deliberate or accidental. It is difficult to draw the right conclusions if one day the statistics provided by a very reputable pharmaceutical company are incorrectly entered, and in a few days its vaccines are approved by the health authorities. The reliability of the vaccine fell from 75% to 64% in one day, and the position is not expressed, there is competition for the vaccine, the market is divided, some are squeezed out of the market, and states are struggling to absorb funds to fight COVID-19 .
The modern “information noise” of large corporations in the field of ecology, among other things, does not seem sincere in this regard. The experience of the past two years has shown that corporations that prevent the world from organizing the fight against a pandemic seek to manage globalization by replicating the environmental problem, and the call to protect nature is contrary to the concrete actions of large countries.
The World Health Organization collects statistics on COVID-19 from around the world and publishes them daily. A number of research centers are also involved in the collection and analysis of statistical data. The platform developed by the Johns Hopkins Institute is one of the most notable.
It is noteworthy that not a single center has published a serious scientific analysis in connection with the collection and analysis of statistics. There were “rumors” that statistics from different countries were inaccurate, sometimes even from official sources, but no scientific institution established the percentage of disinformation, and as an interested person in the circulating “suspicious information” one could only make assumptions .
No vaccine tested by the World Health Organization against COVID-19 has been able to become a global product. As a result of the misguided policies pursued by the major powers, the expectations of the people, especially in the less developed countries, have not been met. Democracies around the world have easily transformed democratic values into commercial values and, as a result, have become the main cause of information pollution of the global information space. As the desire to manage the information environment and the technologies that allow it to do so expands, the process becomes clearer. The “global networks” serving large corporations are becoming more visible in every challenge and are becoming “insurmountable.” Instead of recommendations and new achievements in the field of health and medicine on the website of the World Health Organization in Azerbaijan. “Exhibition of works will open in Baku Georgian artist Nino Kipshidze “,” Event dedicated to the 880th anniversary of Nizami Ganjavi in the Estonian press “,” Azerbaijani scientists were awarded the “Living Dada Gorgud” prize “, the film” Atabek “in Azerbaijani language in Tabriz” Delicious dishes of Azerbaijani cuisine were presented at “ African Week “at UNESCO”, etc. There are several such news. Apparently, there is no access to reliable information from these channels. This is a method of preventing misinformation. “Don’t talk about the main issues of the day.” Let’s take another look at information channels. How is the first data channel formed? Clearing the incoming scientific information products from “internal contradictions”, political leaders form a harmonious opinion, regulate it from the point of view of impact on the social environment, direct it into the mainstream of political interests. How is the second data channel formed? This area is known as the flow of scientific information. There is no unified position here, and this is not surprising. As we have already noted, there is always an internal contradiction in scientific information, and this has long been the subject of scientific discussions. For media consumers, a long and contradictory process is both uninteresting and incomprehensible. How is the third data channel formed? Here you can also refer to the wide distribution of statistical information. Consumers of broad information also want to trust this information, draw conclusions and evaluate what is happening. However, for unknown reasons, there are regular reports of verification of these numbers. There are serious claims that the statistics are inaccurate and the reliability of the information cannot be determined. We have to show social media as the fourth information channel. Social media, which is deeply rooted in our lives, has spread a wide range of information, from mystical information about COVID-19 to organized crime projects. In some cases, social networks have become dominant in shaping public opinion. It can be assumed that the “unreliability” of information received from the first three news channels dominates on social networks, and “unfounded rumors” on social networks play a stronger role in shaping public opinion. This is exactly what happened in the formation of public opinion during this pandemic, the special weight of social networks increased. These information channels have existed and functioned at all times, and during the pandemic they differed in their specificity, and this difference was more pronounced. Summing up, we can conclude that there is no more promising way than the integration of local and regional information networks. Only through local and regional networks can the reliability of information be monitored and the quality of information can be discussed. The bibliography of COVID-19 information and its content analysis reveals how messy the information environment is, and no “legal” process works because it is in corporate interests. Many people still believe that information products in the field of medicine and health care are addressed to doctors and healthcare professionals. However, the results of the last two years have shown that “commissioned expert opinions” serving the commercial interests of medicine and health care do not satisfy public opinion, and people resist attempts to manipulate information. Statistics are more important in medicine and health than in all areas. In order to obtain correct results and to take appropriate steps in this direction, it is necessary to ensure the reliability of the statistical information. In many cases, consumers of information independently obtain results using statistics, and in some cases, local experts draw conclusions and develop specific recommendations that we encountered during a pandemic. Providing experts with reliable statistics on medicine and health can be more credible if taken on by the World Health Organization. Unless, of course, the organization commercializes its operations and services. In general, if the health problems in the world are further viewed from the point of view of commercial interests, then the picture with which we face the environment will soon be observed in health care. Nowadays, scientific and authoritative knowledge in the field of medicine and health is more than “visible”. To channel these advances into the service of humanity, it is important to ensure the reliability of information products, cleanse them of misinformation and identify their origin.
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Received Date: January 28, 2022
Published: March 11, 2022
Address for correspondence
Parviz Firudin Oqlu Kazimi, Doctor of Philosophy, Baku State University, Azerbaijan
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How to cite this article
Parviz FOK. Information Flow on Covid-19 During the Pandemic and the Formation of Public Opinion. 2022- 4(2) OAJBS.ID.000413.