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Video: The Critical Role of the Media During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Friday, April 3, 2020


  • Laura Bonilla, Correspondent, Agence France-Presse - AFP
  • Nacha Cattan, Mexico Bureau Chief, Bloomberg 
  • Tim Padgett, Americas Editor, Miami NPR affiliate WLRN 
  • Tom Phillips, Latin America Correspondent, The Guardian 
  • Cecilia Tornaghi, Managing Editor, Americas Quarterly 

From Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro calling the virus a "gripezinha" to Nicolás Maduro recommending lemongrass and ginger as a remedy, journalists can help counter disinformation when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic hitting Latin America right now. A team of correspondents based across the Americas discussed the role of the media during the COVID-19 pandemic amid the growing appetite for information and the threats of populism when it comes to saving lives.

Nacha Cattan noted Mexico's local media is doing an important job when it comes to checking information given by the government with expert sources and telling "what the president is and isn't doing." NPR's Tim Padgett talked about how journalists need to talk to doctors for answers, saying: "Jair Bolsonaro has been putting out so much misinformation he makes Donald Trump look like a PHD in epidemiology." The Guardian's Tom Phillips, dialing in from Brazil, talked about how technology is helping correspondents keep in touch with local stringers and sources while the region is under quarantine. And AFP's Laura Bonilla talked about efforts to cover different angles of the pandemic in the region, given that journalists have a responsibility and a "huge opportunity," she said. "Good information can prevent you and your family from getting sick."