The Moldovan authorities responsible for the management of the COVID-19 crisis had a weak communication plan and not health professionals, but political representatives were at the forefront, executive director of the Independent Think Tank “Expert-Grup” stated in a public debate entitled “Why doesn’t COVID-19 recede? Who should do and what should be done?” that was staged by IPN News Agency.
“Communication was one of the weakest elements of the method by which the authorities managed the crisis. It was better initially, but things gradually degenerated with the growing interference of the political factor. We didn’t have proper communication between the state and the population, between the state and the firms as there was lack of mutual trust. Furthermore, the information environment was filled with a lot of contradictory messages and fake news. Regrettably, the church, which enjoys the highest level of confidence according to polls, also misled public opinion. There were promoted different conspiracy theories and we know very well that the badly informed people easily believe such theories,” stated Adrian Lupușor.
Also, not health professionals, but politicians with low ratings appeared before the people. “Polls show that these do not enjoy the greatest trust in society and this agent that conveys the message, those politicians with a low level of confidence contaminated the whole society with distrust. The mayors, who are trusted at the local level, weren’t involved sufficiently either, as weren’t opinion leaders who can influence public behavior. Indeed, the politicians monopolized that communication with society and as a result we witness this distrust.”
To remedy the situation, Adrian Lupușor considers a new communication strategy should be worked out, based on the promotion of voluntary obedience, on clear and positive messages, not on fines. “The appearance of politicians should be minimized, while the appearance of health experts should be maximized. It is as important to encourage the observance of the main protection measures. I refer to masks, disinfectants that should be offered free to the population.”
The debate “Why doesn’t COVID-19 recede? Who should do and what should be done?” was the 139th installment of the series of debates “Developing political culture through public debates” that are supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.