This is the Strategy to Restore Public Trust During a Pandemic

PRINDONESIA.CO | Fridau, May 01, 2020
Masyarakat ingin mendengarkan pernyataan dari pemerintah untuk mengurangi ketidakpastian

In this difficult time, the government's statement to reduce uncertainty is the information most people want to hear. This statement is also believed to be effective in increasing public trust.

JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – As stated by Rustika Herlambang, Communication Director of Indonesia Indicator, while speaking at an online talk show titled "Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis Communication Strategy: Restoring Public Trust" on Tuesday (28/4/2020).

According to Rustik, the Covid-19 outbreak that occurred in Indonesia has brought this country to the gates of uncertainty, in terms of health, social, and economic. "What the public needs right now is a statement from the government to reduce uncertainty," Rustika said.

She continued, "If this step is carried out successfully, the public will increasingly trust the government," she said at the event initiated by the Doctorate Program of the Faculty of Communication Sciences, Padjajaran University, and Pikiran Rakyat.

Unfortunately, Rustika said, what happened was that the government often gave controversial statements, such as the differences of opinion between officials.

This condition makes the public confused. Inevitably the coronavirus is the most publicly discussed issue. In fact, five times more talked about than the 2019 Presidential Election.

The results of media analysis conducted by Indonesia Indicator from 2 March - 26 April 2020, it was recorded that there were 2,623 Indonesian online media producing 1,336,363 news about Covid-19. "This data shows that news becomes interesting if it contains controversy," she said.

Besides controversy, there are two other things that attract public attention, namely curiosity and story.

Public curiosity emerged because Covid-19 comes from a new type of coronavirus. While stories related to the way the media package the story neatly. She gave an example of the media that often told the emotional story of doctors who were struggling in the front guard or about recovered patients.

Meanwhile, Deddy Mulyana, Professor of Communication Sciences at Padjajaran University emphasized the importance of the government in designing one door information in terms of health socialization, handling, and assistance to the communities affected by the Covid-19. According to him, this method can also increase public confidence in the government.


Nurlaela Arief, Director of Communication and Alumni Relations of SBM ITB, highlighted the need to map the media. "The government must understand which media tends to be negative or support government policies," said Nurlaela.

This method helps the government to find out the media that have been supporting government policies. Then, embrace them to voice optimism together against the Covid-19 pandemic. "That way, public trust will increase," she added.

Nurlaela also emphasized the importance of taking a three-level approach which consists of, approach to the chief editor or media owner, editor, and reporter.

Good relations with the three levels will help the media when they have to make clarifications and confirmations before the news goes public. Finally, the media can convey information in full chronology. "We can suppress hoaxes and misleading information," she said.

Another way to increase public confidence is to choose the right spokesperson and their personality. "People will trust government figures or religious leaders more," she added.

Nurlalela’s statement was agreed upon by Rustika. "In fact, netizens also have reference figures," she said.

Yes, based on social media analysis conducted by the Indonesia Indicator, there are three governors who seize public attention. They are the Governor of West Java Ridwan Kamil, Governor of Central Java Ganjar Pranowo, and Governor of East Java Khofifah Indar Parawansa.

"These three governors are often the subject of discussion by the netizens who are pro to the government," she concluded. (rvh)