Tuesday, 20 October, 2020

Flood of negative news, information in social media creating psychosocial problems, experts suggest for self-discipline


By Keshabraj Poudel, Kathmandu, Sept. 18: The COVID-19 pandemic has invited a psychosocial problem as people tend to react instantly to the news and information about the novel coronavirus without ascertaining the facts and authenticity of the information, the doctors say.

Dr. Ananta Adhikari of Mental Hospital, Lagankhel, said, "Publicity of negative news and information is being encouraged due to some people who get pleasure by creating chaos in the society."

"Specially during this time of public health emergency where the threat of COVID-19 is looming everywhere, negative and false news is being spread by some group, thereby inflicting fear in the society," said Dr. Adhikari. "The social media platforms could be taken as an example. Negative news and stories spread much faster in such platforms."

Dr. Adhikari said that the infection rate and death rate of COVID-19 in Nepal was not alarming. "However, instead of spreading positive news about the pandemic, some people are seen walking around scolding the government for its incompetency. This is a psychosocial problem," he added.

Instead of staying positive in this hard times, we are more inclined towards negativity, added Dr. Adhikari.

He added that this problem was prevalent all over the world in the midst of the pandemic.

"Not only the social media platforms, the responsible mainstream media do seem at times to be competing with social media to misinform people by serving false news," he added.

Stating that problems had arisen due to lack of knowledge as to what legal punishment will be awarded in cases of spreading rumour about Corona in social media and the society, Dr. Adhikari pointed at the need of self-discipline to not get entangled in the problems due to rumour in the social media.

"We should start condemning dissemination of bad news by differentiating between the right and wrong information to avoid negativity around us," he added.

He viewed that it was high time for the government to stop the social media going steadily toward negativity as in the bombardment of misinformation, people fail to sort out right and wrong and those who speak loudly are often understood as speaking truth in the social media.

Almost all Nepalis are disciplined and believe in hard work although there are also a handful of people who take pleasure in being able to spread rumour and they must be controlled before they sway influence in the society, he said

A tendency to abuse others without ever trying to improve one's conduct has evolved lately and such trend cannot be controlled solely by law but by the society. Therefore publicity of positive things in the society is vital, he explained.

He said positive works of the government were also overshadowed by the negative rumours because of the lately evolving negativity in the social media platforms.

He said Nepalis working abroad have also started to express negativity in the social media after they are frustrated due to failure to get expected work and pay and perks there.

Bidur Timalsina, an MPhil student of Humanities Faculty, said spread of negative thing in a fast pace is a global phenomenon and a problem of the same magnitude.

He attributed high rate of employment to fast spread of negative news in the social media and society. "Those who have lost jobs at this time of global pandemic are active in the social media and they often express their own frustration."

He said that a recently revealed data showed that about 90 percent follow negative news. This is all because of unemployment and the painful situation created by COVID-19 pandemic.


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