The COVID-19 pandemic crisis is also an information crisis, and journalists are the first responders. People need access to local, trusted information on COVID-19, but local news outlets are struggling under difficult economic conditions and need support to bolster their health and emergency response reporting. Internews has launched a Rapid Response Fund to provide financial and advisory support for local journalists and news outlets so they can continue to provide life-saving information.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by a massive 'infodemic,' an over-abundance of information - some accurate, some rumors and misinformation - making it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance in a language they understand and relevant to their local context. Journalists play a pivotal role in documenting the outbreak, countering misinformation, and helping people understand the pandemic, especially when some governments are failing to speak the truth.
The Rapid Response Fund will provide journalists and media partners worldwide with emergency operational funding and advisory services from Internews' public health experts and health journalists. This will enable them to counter misinformation and educate their audiences about containment, prevention and treatment efforts as well as provide essential information on the status of the epidemic in their communities, what health services are available, and where and how to access those services.
At a time of such uncertainty and alarm, journalists are on the frontlines giving us the facts. The funds will allow Internews' local journalist and media partners in over 80 countries to continue to operate and be the truth-tellers, working tirelessly to keep their communities informed, stay safe and access available services. Trusted local media is a cornerstone of resilient communities, helping people to recover and rebuild as we navigate through these times of uncertainty and upheaval.