An Examination of Denials and Conspiracy Theories on COVID-19 in the Nigerian Media Ecosystem

  • Osakue S. Omoera
  • Chinedu Ogoke Department of English and Communication Studies, Federal University Otuoke
Keywords: COVID-19, Nigerian media ecosystem, Conspiracy theory, Denial, Development communication, Critical thinking

Abstract

From the first quarter of 2020, Coronavirus (COVID-19) dominated our lives and media platforms, and it is considered an unprecedented healthcare crisis. The socio-economic, political and cultural impacts will last for a very long time. At present, the fight against COVID-19 is either being lost or won around the world. But, what could make the virus not go away soon from Africa, particularly Nigeria, is the tendency to deny its existence. Employing historicocritical and direct observation methods this article reflects on the issue and signposts argument against claims that Coronavirus is a fraud and a non-existent disease. Many unguarded Nigerians claim that Bill Gates is at the forefront of a plan to exterminate Africans through a vaccine. Others argue that if there was a Coronavirus, it must have been prepared in a Chinese lab. They further claim that it is what China had in mind when it invented the 5G technology which triggered the COVID-19.  In fact, many Nigerians treat suggestions to wear facemasks or to apply certain preventive measures against infection from the virus with contempt. At each turn, Nigerians are pummeled with misinformation and disinformation. Readers and listeners are now expected to deal with news items that resemble the original. It is this situation that impels this study to take a position that a national orientation is required to correct a gullible culture of denial, propagation of fake news and the willingness of readers, listeners and other media users to accept such news as true without critical thinking. It is observed, regrettably, that the denials or conspiracy theories circulate more among students of tertiary institutions and degree holders who are supposed to have advance opinions on the issue. The article, therefore, suggests that tertiary institutions’ curricula should be reconfigured to give attention to this area of national life in Nigeria with a view to building a mass of critical thinkers, not ‘zombies.’ 

Published
2021-06-30
How to Cite
Omoera, O., & Ogoke, C. (2021). An Examination of Denials and Conspiracy Theories on COVID-19 in the Nigerian Media Ecosystem. The Journal of Development Communication, 32(1), 145-151. Retrieved from http://jdc.journals.unisel.edu.my/ojs/index.php/jdc/article/view/196