HEALTH COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES EMPLOYED BY THE MEDIA DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS: CASE OF ZIMBABWE BROADCASTING CORPORATION TELEVISION (ZBC –TV)

Kimberley Sarah Muchetwa, Ephraim Maruta, Hilda Jaka, Joyman Ruvado, Evans Chazireni

Abstract


The paper reports findings from a study that explored health communication strategies employed by the media on the state of preparedness by the Zimbabwean government during the COVID 19 crisis by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Television (ZBC-TV). The study adopted secondary data analysis. Data were collected using secondary sources. The study was influenced by the framing theory. The study found out that ZBC-TV used songs, road shows, commercial ads, dramas, musical shows on reporting the pandemic. The archival documents also revealed that ZBC-TV have used periodical updates as health communication strategies to educate the public about COVID 19. ZBC-TV also used Facebook showing staff from the Office of the President and Cabinet receiving the Covid 19 vaccine at the same time applauding positive response from Harare Metropolitan Province as front line workers surpassed the target under the first phase of Covid-19 vaccine roll out plan. The study concluded that the health communication strategies employed by ZBC-TV have been effective in increasing the societal awareness about health issues. ZBC-TV managed to reach out to the masses using both the television and by making use of the new media communication technologies. However, press censorship has been a challenge in publishing information concerning COVID 19 as the media house is not allowed to publish anything that tarnishes the image of the government. It is based on such evidence that the study concludes that ZBC-TV at some point distorted information to paint the picture that the government is doing all it can to contain the spread of COVID 19 and ensuring the safety of the public. The study recommends that the ministry should ensure freedom of information publicity, in which media houses, including ZBC-TV is not controlled by any political party of government. The government should also privatise ZBC-TV so that it will be answerable to the public and not few government officials.

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health communication strategies, Covid-19 crisis, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejsss.v6i6.1132

Copyright (c) 2021 Kimberley Sarah Muchetwa, Ephraim Maruta, Hilda Jaka, Joyman Ruvado, Evans Chazireni

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