RESISTING INFODEMIC: INFORMATION PROFESSIONALS’ RESPONSE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN NIGERIA

Philip Gana Malgwi, Babalola Najim Akorede, Victoria Itsekor, Blessing Nnenna Otubelu

Abstract


This paper seeks to examine the availability, access, utilization, and challenges of individuals with regards to information shared on COVID-19 in Nigeria. The overwhelming bulk of information from different sources in various forms and formats has resulted in infodemic arising from fake news, disinformation and misinformation. It is the responsibility of information professionals like librarians to mitigate this infodemic. This study has the following research questions: What types of information sources are available to individuals for accessing COVID-19 information in Nigeria, what is the level of access to these information sources, what is the extent of Utilisation of the information sources and to ascertain the challenges are encountered individuals while accessing the information on COVID-19 in Nigeria. Quantitative method was adopted for this study using a descriptive survey design where a questionnaire was administered to 150 respondents and 122 was retrieved, sorted, coded and analysed using descriptive statistics of frequency and percentage. The study found out that individuals surveyed have at their disposals social media, online websites, online television, search engines such as Google search as the major source of COVID-19 Information which they find always accessible. Other accessible sources are online radio, online news websites, online friends and they sometimes have accessed instant messaging services, blogs and audio podcasts. This study also found out that the major challenges encountered by the respondents were that of High cost of data subscription during the lockdown, lack of credibility of some information sources, inaccurate data and information from some sources, false and/or fake information from some sources and poor power supply to charge their gadget to receive timely information. Therefore, the task is to profile quality information at the right time via the right channel for effective decision making to curtail misinformation and disinformation. To address this contention intensely, therefore; the researchers, are calling on librarians, information scientists, and journalists on the need to work together to ensure that information that is shared are censored, amended, sieved and filtered to mitigate another issue of infodemic in this pandemic era.


Keywords


Covid-19, Infodemic, Information Sources, Information Professionals, Pandemic.

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