Understanding Trust: Global Conversations and Local Realities During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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At Internews we think about trust in information a lot. From working with communities, media and NGO partners around the world over the past 40 years, we know that information is power and that it can change lives. We also understand that what shapes people’s relationship with information is a complex and dynamic equation. Trust is driven by a multiplicity of factors, not only by accuracy or authority.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shed a harsh light on how many around the world have come to distrust information shared by “institutions,” on the pandemic and beyond, and how little we understand about how trust works. In this report, we share selected insights from our work across seven countries facing complex and often protracted pre-existing humanitarian crises before the pandemic. The Internews Rooted in Trust project has worked to understand the role of rumors and misinformation in the pandemic and to encourage and support humanitarian and media communicators to listen, engage and respond to community information needs. Download and read the report.

Trust is not the same as reliance or influence. And trust is not only about accuracy . Most importantly, there can be no trust without acknowledging people’s beliefs, fears and their reality. In the end, reaching people through non-trusted channels, provides little guarantee that audiences will believe the information they receive.