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International Research Collaboration on Public Perception and Media Use during Corona Crisis

Picture: Virtual meeting of the collaboration team: Prof. Jens Wolling and Mira Rochyadi-Reetz from EMPK, Dr. Eni Maryani from Padjadjaran University Bandung and Dr. Anna Agustina from Pancasila University Jakarta

The research group EMPK is conducting an international research collaboration with two universities in Indonesia on the Relevance of Communication during Corona Crises (RCCC). The partners of the cooperation in Indonesia are Dr. Eni Maryani from the Center for Study of Communication, Media and Culture of Universitas Padjadjaran (FIKOM UNPAD) and Anna Agustina Phd. from the Faculty of Communication Science Universitas Pancasila (FIKOM UP). In both countries, representative national surveys were conducted to investigate how media relates to the public perception of the Corona crisis. The research in Indonesia is built on the constructs and indicators developed by the research team of EMPK. The survey took place in both countries approximately 50 days after the beginning of the pandemic. This provides the possibility to analyze the data from both countries in comparative perspective

In comparison to the European situation, the infection rate of Corona virus in Indonesia is comparable low. Until now about 25.000 positive cases were detected and about 1.400 people had died due to Corona virus. Meanwhile in Germany the number of infections almost reached 185.000 with more than 8000 deceased persons.

Despite the low number of infections in Indonesia, the representative surveys show that Indonesians perceive the Corona crisis as more intensive than the Germans. More than 90% of the Indonesians are afraid to get infected by the virus, meanwhile less than 60% of the German respondents feel afraid to get infected. The same picture appears for the economic crises. More than 90% of the respondents in Indonesia agree that their economic condition is negatively affected meanwhile less than 65 % of the German respondent agree on the same statement.

The relevance of the information sources during the crisis in both country was also different: Indonesian respondent rely more on private television (86%) than on public TV (57%), meanwhile in Germany more respondents are frequent users of public television (71%) than of the private ones (53%). The survey also shows that more Indonesians respondents frequently use government’s websites and social media (65%) to get information on Corona than the Germans (43%). These preliminary result rise questions how the differences can be explained. Therefore characteristics of the economic situation, health care, political and media system will be considered.

The research team already published first results of the surveys in Indonesia and Germany and received positive media coverage in both countries. At the moment both teams are preparing joined research papers based on the data collected in the countries.