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Personally, at this rate I think Malaysians deserve pats on their backs for simply being mindful, responsible and SOPs abiding citizens. We have really done well at that part. During this time of adversity, besides obeying to the SOPs to flatten the curve, there is another way of doing favour to our country, that is stepping up by being well-informed citizens. Well informed and critical thinking citizens are essential for a crisis communication to take place properly. When citizens stay informed, they empower the rest and help to keep the government in check to ensure all the necessary measures are accomplished.

Staying informed keeps us abreast of our rights and responsibilities as citizens and enables us to act appropriately based on the knowledge we have processed. Informed citizens don’t muzzle yet they assist with the information delivery and reprimand any setbacks with constructive ideas.

The CMCO makes more time for the people to stay at home and more reason for them to fondle with their phone. Everyone tend to have something to say hence, opinions from public will pop up everywhere and it is the responsibility of each individual citizen to determine which information is relevant and accurate. Independent media and civic groups sometimes attempt to mislead the public and manipulate mass opinion in a biased direction to gain followers. They will tempt the people with click baits and they will conveniently share, speculate and worse, assume; this spells disaster to the credibility of communication. We should educate ourselves and people around us regarding the source of the information we receive and make choices accordingly.

Mainstream media sometimes fall short in keeping citizens aware, but there are aplenty of other reliable information resources available. It solely depends on our insight to go through several media outlets, look for patterns and choose from which outlets that gives the most credible and reliable information.

How can we become well informed citizens? First of all, we must sift through a lot of information from the government, media and civic groups.

When we resort to the social media, we must verify our source because it is a vast medium of information going on there. Reputable news portal and official page provide extensive angles at current issues and connect readers to direct links to ministers or agencies’ page/platform. This can draw attention to the issues at hand and alert people who might otherwise be unaware of new policies, laws or changes in SOPs and policies announcement.

An informed citizen should behave in a way he/she should echo to whatever Government’s updated policies and messages. He must be able to reason out from an information-biased news and rearticulate the news or information to be as neutral and beneficial to everybody from different background. Do your part now, be a well-informed citizen and an agent of truth.

By Aidalina Mahili