Journalism During and Beyond the Pandemic: The Impact of Media Narratives on Health Behaviors

Journalists reporting on health during the COVID-19 pandemic face massive challenges that exert an impact on public health behaviors and trust. These challenges include misinformation and disinformation that are fueled by rumors and amplified through social media, contradictory messages from politicians in charge, and the pressure to keep up to date with the evolving science around a rapidly mutating virus, treatments, and vaccines. The pandemic has placed health systems under stress, affecting their ability to deliver services, sometimes including even life-saving oxygen supplies at the ICUs.

These challenges have eroded trust in health information and health systems for many people around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has also influenced public attitudes towards health officials, and in some countries, skepticism towards the health system is impacting other health programming, such as routine vaccination for children.  In  2020 alone, an estimated  25 million children missed out on basic childhood vaccine due to many reasons including pandemic related lockdowns that affect access to health services or cause interruptions in the supply chain. Media professionals have an important role to play in overcoming public mistrust by using factual and evidence-based information in their reporting. The resurgence of vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, underscores the need for in-depth understanding about immunization basics and how the pandemic has severely disrupted health systems and for fresh, inspiring narratives on what needs to be done to get health service-delivery back on track.

This event took place on Monday 19 December 2022. Leading media professionals and health experts in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina come together to discuss how narratives around health influence behaviors and how they can contribute to better health outcomes in the Europe & Eurasia region. Please note, this event is in the local language without English translation.