The role of the media in the COVID-19 pandemic
The role of the media in the COVID-19 pandemic
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Gymnasium Hochrad  ›   Aktuelles  ›  Social Science   ›  Germany´s coronavirus response – separating fact from fiction

Germany´s coronavirus response – separating fact from fiction

28. April 2020

Social Science

Germany is allegedly considering issuance of „immunity certificates“ to allow individuals who have recovered from the virus to move about freely. But this claim violates the German Press Code, as a Life on Earth student detected.

Germany´s social distancing and limited mobility restrictions may soon not apply to citizens with a corona virus “immunity certificate” anymore, which would restore their freedom of movement, claimed the news site Business Insider in the US and The Telegraph in the UK.

This is due to an interview by Der Spiegel and a report by the Deutsche Welle, in which a scientist mentions the “immunity certificate” in the framework of a potential study, regarding the corona virus pandemic. Scientifically, an “immunity certificate” that expresses a resistance to the corona virus is not viable. Immunity can be temporary and differs from person to person.

One reason for the distortion could be the intentional reporting of the press, that continuously searches for eye-catching headlines and information and that takes advantage of the present question how to proceed after the mass-lockdown, to cause a sensation and increase the readership. This violates the German Press code that states, “the publication of specific information […] must be carefully checked in respect of accuracy in the light of existing circumstances. Its sense must not be distorted or falsified […]” (German Press Code, 2).

Another possibility is the misinterpretation of the interview and report; hence, the incorrect assertion of the considered issuance of “immunity certificates”. With regards to this speculation, the Press Code requires the, “publication concerned, to promptly rectif[y] [the assertion] in an appropriate manner” (German Press Code, 3).

In both cases, this claim of free mobility for individuals with an “immunity certificate” is not in full conformity with the German Press Code by the German Press Council.

(Marc P., S2)