Voice Clips Carrying Unreliable Information and Meant as Jokes still Shared by Officials  

It seems that, wherever we go, there is no escaping people talking about COVID-19. Sothie and Samnang recently decided not to sit together at the Café anymore. Now, they remain standing to speak to each other, leaving a safe distance of more than one meter between them. Holding a coffee mug in their hands, the two pals were complaining the other morning about some government officials who share voice clips through social media without really considering that those voices clips are inappropriate or fake.



Sothie: Now, stories about the coronavirus seem to be filled with unreliable information. It is worrying that elderly people who live in rural areas and may not clearly understand the situation may just keep sharing that information again and again.

Samnang: There are two issues that come up about those shares. The first one is the shares that appear on Facebook Newsfeed. The second issue is the shares that appear in the chatboxes of Telegram, Messenger, WhatsApp and others. This type of shares can get viral pretty quickly. But what really grinds my gears is the government officials who seem to be intellectuals and very influential in society and, even though they do understand that those voice clips present information that is somewhat unreliable and are meant to be funny, those government officials just continue sharing them for fun. 

Sothie: And in the end, those voice clips will be reaching people who live in rural areas. At this point, villagers completely believe the information provided in those voice clips. Cambodians usually fall for what high-ranking officials say: If government officials say so, then it must be true. Some voice clips say “Chinese doctors recommend shutting down markets,” or “Brush your teeth with salt to kill the coronavirus.” But other voice clips were recorded for the purpose of making fun of the situation and they have been shared many times in the conversation sections. 

Samnang: If this ridiculous thing keeps on going, no matter how many working groups you deploy, there is no chance for you to win. The conclusion is that, if you are certain that the information in the voice clips is not reliable, then just leave it there. Better not to spread them among more people even though those voice clips are meant to be funny. 

 


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