Is the press fuelling panic?

The confused information situation in the coronavirus pandemic is also encouraging the spread of false reports and rumours. Does the media share responsibility for panic buying and other irrational reactions to the virus?

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Kurier (AT) /

We're all to blame for fake news

The Coronavirus is a textbook example of how fake news and rumours spread, Kurier notes:

“In times of crisis we are emotionally particularly vulnerable to reports that reinforce our fears and prejudices or offer unexpectedly simple solutions and ways out. ... The problem with fake news is that it is not only published by sinister Russian hackers who want to sabotage the US presidential election. Or by misguided pranksters who take pleasure in spreading uncertainty in emergency situations. ... We are all (partly) to blame for the fact that such news can spread like wildfire. ... Because we fall into the trap. Because we are careless for a moment. And because our fingers are much too loose when it comes to clicking the 'Share' button online.” (ES) /

Permanent alarms deafen the ears

The editor-in-chief of, Ignacio Escolar, who was at the Women's Day demonstration on 8 March, considers this to have been a mistake:

“In the last few weeks my main concern in has been to not spread too much unnecessary panic about the coronavirus. Today I have the opposite feeling: there are too many people who still don't understand what is happening, who aren't implementing even the minimal sanitary recommendations, who prefer to ignore the seriousness of the situation or indulge in picturesque conspiracy theories. ... Perhaps we, as the media, must blame ourselves to some extent for our low credibility. So often have we warned that the wolf is coming that now that it has arrived some people no longer believe us.”