UK comms regulator 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 three of the ‘lockdown’, including how people’s experiences and behaviour has changed since the previous weeks. It shows, among other things, that:
Virtually all respondents continue to say they are closely following the official advice about practising social distancing (98 per cent), only going outside for essential things (97 per cent) and washing hands regularly (94 per cent).
The next wave of the research, covering week four of the ‘lockdown’, will be published on Tuesday April 28th 2020.
Publication of its latest findings follows Ofcom’s announcement that it had imposed a sanction on local television service licensee ESTV London after an interview with English conspiracy theorist, and former footballer and sports broadcaster David Icke on its local television channel London Live included potentially harmful content about the coronavirus pandemic.
It has also considered complaints about comments made by presenter Eamonn Holmes on ITV’s This Morning about misinformation around Covid-19 and 5G technology, and has issued guidance to ITV and its presenters, suggesting that discussions about unproven claims and theories which could undermine viewers’ trust in official public health information must be put fully into context to ensure viewers are protected. These responsibilities are especially important when ongoing events – such as mobile phone masts in the UK being attacked – risk significant harm to the public.