Pandemic Communication through Public Service Broadcasters: A Study on Strategies of COVID-19 Awareness Creation in Kerala

The world is still passing through the challenges of SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic, and many health communication campaigns have been devised to create public awareness about preventive methods and curative strategies. Since mass media act as a bridge between the government and society, mediated campaigns have had a high potential to influence public health practices. The Public Service Broadcasters (PSB) in India provided extensive coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic via audio-visual means across various states. Regional news units of Doordarshan (Public service Television) and AIR (Public service Radio) in Kerala broadcast diverse content related to the pandemic. Expert interviews, daily briefings by authorities, interface/bites of doctors and health workers, public service announcements, special programs, animated series and short videos, special bulletins, live phone interactions with experts, ground reports, and celebrity endorsements were used to create awareness. A qualitative content study followed by an interview with experts has revealed that the momentum of campaigning could not be sustained after the initial phase of successful campaigning.

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