HCMC – Public trust in the media and the government has played a pivotal role in Vietnam’s success in controlling Covid-19, according to Dr Farida Kbar, Professional Communication Senior Program Manager at RMIT University Vietnam.
“When faced with a new problem, we look for information to evaluate our options and the Covid-19 pandemic was no exception. During times of chaos and unpredictability, our emotions may cloud our fact-checking abilities, and finding an authority to provide fast and trustworthy information becomes more vital than ever,” she said.
When it comes to information credibility, the media has proved to be the authority in Vietnam. It has played a major role in preventing the spread of Covid-19 by providing trustworthy and detailed information daily on new Covid-19 cases from the national steering committee for Covid-19 prevention and control.
The Vietnamese mainstream media also ensured it fact-checked its information, flagging what was not true and sharing a variety of content that wasn’t only limited to the potential health impacts of the virus.
Through its actions, the media in Vietnam enhanced its reputation as a reliable source of information during uncertain times. This trust was reflected by a YouGov survey in May that showed Vietnam had the highest level of public trust (89%) in the media among the 26 countries surveyed.
As of June 23, there were 349 Covid-19 cases and zero deaths in a country that represents 1.25% of the total world population. This success was due to many factors including the Government’s actions.
However, for these actions to be successful, the Government needed to trust its people to do the right thing. “This would not have been possible without the trust of the people in the community, the media and the Vietnamese Government,” Dr Farida noted.
In a TV interview with 7News Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce secretary in Vietnam, Matt Young, said, “The Vietnamese community came together as a community and looked after each other.”
In addition to providing daily detailed, timely and accurate information to the nation, the Government also worked to stop the spread of misinformation. In a new decree announced in February, a fine of VND10-20 million was imposed on anyone using social media to share false, untruthful, distorted or slanderous information.
Authorities also launched a public campaign to build awareness and understanding of the consequences of misinformation with the slogan “Fake news, real consequences”.