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Let’s Not Poison the Well – How the Media Can Help Combat Ebola-related Stigma

Callie Long. Let’s Not Poison the Well – How the Media Can Help Combat Ebola-related Stigma. Ebola Communication Network 2014
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'One of the best ways still to counter misinformation and rumor is to work with the media in their role as public educators­ especially if it offers two-way communication channels for information exchange with communities affected by the outbreak  so that they can participate in thhe dialogue. In Guinea for instance, where Internews is working with journalists to gain the skills needed to report on this humanitarian crisis, the interactive power of radio (along with mobile phones) provide exactly this kind of platform that engages people in the conversation related to their health and well-being. Radio remains one of the most trusted sources of information in this area, and in the municipalities where Internews works, is still the only form of media available to people, and an important way to address issues of stigma, through well-sourced, accurate and actionable information...

'Credible sources of information in the local language have the greatest impact: this is why word-of-mouth is so powerful, often dangerously so. But it is also why local media can be so effective.

'Public health messages are a critical component, but messaging alone and in isolation will not convince people who have heard and believed rumors from their friends and families. People gather information in 360-degree environments. They need to "own the information ­ - feel that it makes sense, speaks to them directly, and is something that is so convincing and real that they want to share it forward, and make sure that others hear the message too.'

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Callie Long
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