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SEARCH Journal of Media and Communication Research ; 14(3):75-89, 2022.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-2227775


Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, rampant misinformation about the virus has created large-scale panic and uneasiness among the Malaysian public. In response to this threat, the Malaysian government launched public service announcements (PSAs) on COVID-19 in various media to increase public awareness and knowledge, specifically on recommended solutions. The messages in the PSAs were tailored to underscore the various phases of the pandemic to persuade public belief as well as nurture positive attitude and behavioural changes. The objectives of this study are: (1) to investigate the public's information-seeking behaviours, (2) to investigate user perceptions and indicators of PSAs, and (3) to determine the effectiveness of PSAs as a communication platform to convey important information about the pandemic throughout the different Movement Control Order (MCO) phases. Through focus group discussions with eight urban Klang Valley informants, findings highlight the crucial elements in identifying motivation and factors of media preferences which affect how various media platforms benefit the Malaysian public. The findings also illustrate the need for the government to ensure that the content and context of the PSAs meet the audiences' demographics in ensuring effective dissemination of information and awareness during a pandemic. © SEARCH Journal 2022.