Media language use in Cameroon: Implications for information dissemination on the COVID-19 pandemic
This study investigates the extent to which language choice in the media against the COVID-19 pandemic is efficient in Cameroon. It examines the language choice in the media for the dissemination of COVID-19 information in rural communities in Cameroon as well as the outcome of this choice on the population. The study is guided by the Sapir-Whorf theory which stipulates that, every information passed down to an individual regardless of the channel used, has to consider the subconscious agreement that individual has with his own language. It adopts a mixed- methods of research and 313 people were selected from the communities of Batcham, Mbangassina and Mouanko. A questionnaire was randomly distributed to 308 respondents, while an interview was carried out with three medical personnel and two media personnel. The study reveals that, the choice of language by the media highly influences the people’s adherence to the preventive measures of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Cameroon, the languages mostly used by the media are the two official languages. Though the media equally uses the indigenous languages, however, the time allocated to these languages is very limited and therefore prevents the majority of the population to have to access vital information. It therefore recommends the use of indigenous language for efficient communication with people living in rural communities.
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