International professionals and academic public relations associations are committed to ethical, effective and proper communication to manage the Covid-19 global pandemic.
“Covid-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is contagious and should be as much the focus of communication sciences as it is the focus of the medical world,” explains Dr. Dejan Vercic, co-founder of the International Symposium on Public Relations Researched, BledCom, a professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences and a partner in the business consulting and communications company, Herman & Partners. “While it emerged from the natural world, it has spread through human socialization. Curing the disease, rehabilitating society, promoting preventative behavior and preparing for the prevention and containment of future viruses and other infections diseases can only be possible through collaboration between natural and social sciences, disciplines and practices. It is, therefore, extremely important that decision-makers, influencers and society in general understand the role of social science and the social technologies based upon it.”
More than a year after the World Health Organization first declared the outbreak of Covid-19,
there remain many problems in coordinating communication between different institutions regarding the virus, protective measures, appropriate responses and vaccination.
Despite innumerable warnings from scientists and experts, quick access to information and a multitude of past experiences, governments and authorities the world over have shown a limited ability to respond effectively to medical emergencies.
Research by the EUPRERA Com-Covid Network’s national research projects, organized by the European Association for Education and Public Relations Research, has shown poor communication management, coupled with low confidence in the information and authorities presenting it. Angeles Moreno, President of EUPRERA, said, “
We know that ethical professional communication can save lives. Excellent communicators are key to managing a pandemic, as they can facilitate and maintain relationships and mutual understanding between institutions and the public.”
Research by EUPRERA national projects have shown poor communication management.
The ability to quickly and clearly convey the proper information through a variety of media is essential for managing public health emergencies. On the flip side, unverified information can easily lead to misinformation. In addition, this can lead to the spread of false news, conspiracy theories and behaviors that jeopardize society’s ability to effectively control the virus. Misleading messages from leaders and institutions threaten trust, which hampers the collective response and, therefore, its success.
Dr. Verčič, one of the supporters and co-signatories of the statement, continues, “This call is an important expression of the will of crisis communication experts who work to save and normalize lives.”
Unverified information leads to the possibility of misinformation.