Another print publication has stepped forward in the fight against fake news during the Coronavirus outbreak. This is Hindustan Times' message.
Misinformation has emerged as the citizens' biggest enemy during the Coronavirus pandemic. While the statistics are scary enough, fake news, rumours, and misinformation paint a picture that is a lot more frightening than the ground reality. Journalistic organisations have been struggling with this ever since the outbreak began to spread - that was the same time that rumours began spreading too. On 27 March 2020, Hindustan Times joined the fight against fake news with a full page ad on the first two pages of their newspaper.
The ad uses a stark black visual to catch a reader's attention and uses the Prime Minister's words to drive the point home. The emphasis of the copy was on verified information. The copywriter conceded that the reporters who work for the paper may not be medical experts but reiterated that they know how to get the truth and verify information before disseminating it to the world.
Earlier this month, afaqs! reported on a similar ad by The Hindu. A jacket ad on March 22 2020 talks about misinformation on social media; the ad was the result of a joint effort of the print media industry.
The copy of the ad reads as follows:
"COVID-19 HAS SHOWN US THAT FAKE NEWS IS A REAL ISSUE.
It seems fake news on social media is spreading faster than the virus itself. And answers are harder than ever to come by. Now we aren’t medical experts, but we know how to get the truth. By thoroughly researching and verifying every word before it’s actually printed. So in these uncertain times, might we ask you to wait. Wait before you share something you have no way of confirming. Wait until the truth in print makes its way to your doorstep.
PRINT IS PROOF."
Another ad by the The Hindu took a stronger tone, asking people not to be opportunistic with spreading misinformation in times of paranoia. The Hindu also took the opportunity to remind everyone of the different publications that are a part of their group, below the ad copy.
The complete copy reads:
“The world is faced with a health crisis, unlike anything it has experienced in recent years. In a time like this, being thoughtful is the least one can do. However, some are attempting to milk the situation. Sad, but true. We, at The Hindu Group, refused to be drawn into this opportunistic rat race. In fact, we strongly discourage it. Going by this stance, we urge marketers, companies and the general public to not use advertising space and social media in any way to take advantage of the scenario for personal/material gain. However, if your messaging is responsible, considerate and empathetic towards the situation, we are more than happy to spread it through our publications.”