“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
One of the biggest tests of every war is the battle against internal sabotage. The biggest weapon of the warfare is the ability to destroy from within without mercy, slowly eating away life of its host from within till there is nothing but a tall, seemly strong tree, while everything on the outside appears stable and safe to climb but on dead and weak on the inside.
The battle of troy remains one of the greatest in the history of warfare, not because of the cunning nature of the Greeks or the ignorance of the city of Troy. Rather what stands out in this battle of wit vs fit is the significance of walls and boundaries.
These walls protect us from outside threats depravities, but what happens when danger lives within these walls, waiting in dark alleys, whispering words that cut asunder… what happens when the battle we fight is against us?
The Greatest threat to any organization or nation is rumors and fake news, fed to satisfy the public’s thirst for information, regardless of authenticity.
One example still in memory is the proposed use of salt as a preventive measure against Ebola virus, this cure turned out to be far more dangerous than the Ebola virus killing at least 2 and with 20 people hospitalized because of excessive salt consumption.
These Fake News has not only undermined the ability of the Government to fight this pandemic but has also instilled fear in the minds of the average man.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has proved to be the perfect breeding ground for such news, from rumors of incompetency to accusations of harassment and abuse of power by the armed forces.
The list is endless and growing still.
We have made the relentless and effortless ability of those planting and spreading these rumors easier with the use of social media. Anyone can hide behind a tweet, a post, a broadcast message sent to a curious parent whose only concern is for the safety of their loved one who retweet, forward these unproven stories increasing the potential damage these rumors cause.
It is only normal for panic to set in times like these with the death toll rising in countries seen as the leading experts in medicine and medical innovation coming to a halt unable to provide answers to the questions that keep our doors bolted day and night.
How long are we to remain inside?
Countries all over the world have adopted different methods to fight this pandemic with support coming from all over the globe to third world countries like Nigeria.
The government has called for cooperation from the part of its citizens to make their job in keeping everyone safe easier. Issuing out directive after directive and deploying law enforcement officers to the streets to enforce these measures to protect lives.
Nigeria has officially registered 25 deaths from the COVID-19 Pandemic and over 1182 confirmed cases of infected people in 28 states. source: NCDC Ng
These numbers continue to rise, the Federal Government has put in place measures to control the spread of the virus. There is presently no certain medicine or vaccine to prevent or treat Coronavirus diseases (COVID-19).
Of the several measures established are Social Distancing, Self-Isolation and partial lockdown of several services all over the Globe.
It is about time we recognize the biggest threat to our survival is not only the COVID-19 virus or starvation and consequently the increase in crime rate that could stem from being unable to work, but from the deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional news media or online social media, to cause panic and increase viewership.
We cannot overstate the negative impact of misinformation, especially at a time where the need for any form of news is in high demand.
Now is the time to confirm the source of news or information before broadcasting it.
The following are steps you can take to ensure help curb the spread of fake news:
- Know the facts: Only share accurate and credible information and updates from trusted sources like the WHO, Public Health Authorities and reputable media sources.
- Arm yourself with information: Keep yourself up to date with accurate news and information by following the right social media accounts. Report parody accounts whose aims is to spread panic and undermine efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
- Beware of Unverified messages: beware of unverified messages, before you share ask yourself, is this information accurate? Does it come from a credible source? If unsure try to verify it. Check dates and times and cross-references videos. Several organizations like Wikipedia, Google, YouTube, World Health Organization, have made constantly updated resources available online to the public.
Remember, the only to win the fight against COVID-19 is if we collectively do our part. Now is not the time to spread panic or panic. It is time to stand up and take responsibility to prevent the further spread of the virus.
Do what you can to keep yourself and other safe. Take Responsibility.