THE COVID PARADOX: RECORD AUDIENCES, SHRINKING REVENUES

Worldwide, media business models are collapsing with the new economic downturn, and attacks on media freedom have increased sharply. But if there is one ray of hope in the tragedy of this pandemic, it could be that Covid-19 is re-awakening people to the vital role that independent media plays in their societies.

IMS partners respond to the Covid-19 pandemic

Front cover of the report Covid-19 and the media: A pandemic of paradoxes, white text on a black background

Covid-19 and the media: A pandemic of paradoxes

As journalists on the frontline have supplied essential live-saving information to massively expanded audiences in need of reporting they could trust, advertising revenues have collapsed, leaving public interest media struggling to survive.

This report covers responses to the infringement of the right to freedom of information, misinformation on social media and the impact on public interest media caused by the Covid-19 pandemic with a human-rights based approach and gender-sensitive lens.

GLOBAL CHALLENGES - LOCAL SOLUTIONS

Across the world, media are finding new, creative ways to inform citizens, debunk false information and present the facts. On Wednesday 9 December, eight IMS media partners joined UNESCO’s virtual World Press Freedom Conference 2020 to share challenges, learnings and solutions from covering the pandemic.

Battling a new wave of disinformation

Battling a new wave of disinformation

African fact-checkers unite to debunk false stories across the continent

Somalia: Radio is reaching even the most remote parts of the country

Somalia: Radio is reaching even the most remote parts of the country

IMS’ long-term engagement with strategic partners across Somalia resulted in an immediate response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 by realigning activities to mitigate potentially devastating consequences.​
Philippines: Innovating under lockdown

Philippines: Innovating under lockdown

Taking their cue from their mission statement – “to share the joy, power, and value there is in listening” – PumaPodcast decided to to give up news coverage and, instead, to focus entirely on listening to people’s stories.

Pakistan: Deadly rise in online assaults against women journalists

Pakistan: Deadly rise in online assaults against women journalists

A deluge of online assaults against women journalists followed their reporting on alleged failings by the ruling party led by former cricketer and now Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Further examples of outstanding public-service journalism from our partners around the world

EXPANDING SCOPE & PUBLIC DEMAND

From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, our partner organisations are exploring new ways to inform and connect with their audiences. They’re helping prevent panic, amplifying the voices of those affected, and helping mitigate the social and economic costs for the people and societies in which they work. 

GROWING DEMAND FOR INDEPENDENT MEDIA?

Several partners have reported unprecedented audience growth since the crisis began.

A pan-Arab digital platform providing in-depth reporting and analysis

1%
Audience growth

Rappler, is a social news network in the Philippines

1
views on Covid-19 Facebook live session

Al Menasa is one of Iraq’s few independent media outlets

1%
Audience Growth

Challenges

THREATS TO MEDIA FREEDOM

While we’re seeing encouraging signs from several of our partners, others are complaining of increasing restrictions and reprisals. In many places, emergency measures to contain the pandemic pose serious risks to press freedom if they become fixed. The International Press Institute is closely monitoring media freedom violations linked to Covid-19. Click below to see their work.

Covid-19 Asia: Rights Repressed

Covid-19 has eroded democracy and respect for human rights in large parts of Asia with strongmen governments using the pandemic to justify a crackdown that was already well underway.

In the Asia Rights Repressed Journalism Series, six media outlets from Nepal, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Cambodia and the Philippines document how Covid is being used to repress political, social and economic rights, affecting in particular, the most vulnerable.

Resources

COVID-19 REPORTING GUIDELINES

Clarity and accuracy in reporting can save lives. IMS has produced guidelines to help journalists get it right. Click the images to download the guides. Read why clarity matters here.