The role of the information in the emergency COVID-19: impacts & consequences

Due to the global epidemic spreading in Europe since February 2020, it is of utmost importance to contribute to the debate on the emergency providing data and evidences that could help to understand how the virus is changing our life.

To support the reflection on the issue, our partner and funding member of the Aletheia Centre of Excellence, T6 Ecosystems, has set up a study. The study intends to analyse, understand and reflect on the impacts of the current emergency on how people get informed. In particular, it intends to investigate if and how people’s behavior changed in relation to reliable and unreliable sources of information.

To find some evidences, it has been applied a qualitative analysis. The qualitative analysis has been conducted through the administration of a questionnaire. The survey has been launched on March 31st and closed on April 16th and disseminated in Italian for an Italian audience. The total responses collected have been 1611. On the total of respondents, 63% are women and 37% are men. Looking at the geographical distribution, 40% of the participants are from Southern Italy and the islands, 33% from Centre of Italy and 27% from North of Italy. In terms of age, replies have been collected from minors of 18 years old to more than 80. Most of the respondents are in the ages within 36 and 65. We asked to select the education degree, most of the respondents selected the following options: master degree and high school.

Results show that people are informing themselves on the pandemic above all using official channels used by authoritative institutions and through broadcasters. Social media, even if appear among the used channel to be informed, are not the primary source of information on the epidemic. Results confirm that the most reliable source of information identified by the participants is the institutional sources of information and the information shared by the scientific community. The survey also asked if the current emergency has changed how respondents deal with information. Half of the respondents asserted that the emergency changed their relationship with the information to state how stating that the Covid 19 led them to be more aware about the importance of verified information.

Full report with final results is available here.