Ofcom Unveils Weekly Research On News Reception, Response Amidst COVID-19


By Cyber Era Correspondent

Regulator for the TMT sector in the UK, Ofcom, has published its latest weekly research on how people are receiving and acting on news and information during the current coronavirus pandemic.

The report summarises the findings from week four of the ‘lockdown’, including how people’s experiences and behaviour have changed since the previous weeks.  The report also provided a breakdown of the findings by Nation and reveals, among other things, that:

  • people are not accessing news and information about Covid-19 as frequently; 12 per cent of people now access news about the virus at least 20 times a day, compared with a quarter (24%) in week one;
  • more people (30%) are actively seeking to avoid news about the pandemic, up from 22 per cent in week one;
  • 44 per cent of people have come across false or misleading information about Covid-19, in line with week one. False claims linking 5G to the outbreak remain the most commonly seen pieces of misinformation (51%); and virtually all respondents continue to say they are closely following the official advice about practising social distancing (98%), only going outside for essential things (97%) and washing hands regularly (92%).

The next wave of the research, covering week five of the ‘lockdown’, will be published on Tuesday, May  5, 2020.

Meanwhile, Ofcom has okayed Emergency funding to support community radio station who will soon be able to apply for emergency funding to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

The government had announced that the £400,000(US$498,366.00) Community Radio Fund was to be redirected to help struggling stations meet core costs of providing vital programming to local communities during the public health crisis.

As administrator of the fund, Ofcom has  published the application form and guidance notes for those stations who wish to apply for an emergency cash grant. This includes the eligibility criteria and information on the application and award process.

The window for applications opens on May 4, 2020 and closes on May  11, 2020.

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