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Anger virus unleashed on Aklan radio station for false COVID-19 death report

By: - Correspondent / @nestorburgosINQ
/ 08:06 PM March 25, 2020

ILOILO CITY—A radio station in Aklan province has drawn condemnation for erroneously reporting that a COVID-19 patient had died in the province of Capiz.

On Tuesday (March 24) evening the Radyo Todo Aklan 88.5 FM posted on its Facebook page a breaking report saying that the first confirmed COVID-19 patient in Capiz province being transported to Iloilo City had died.

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The report, which was not attributed to any source, was fallacious.

The Department of Health (DOH) in Western Visayas had earlier reported two new COVID-19 cases in the region, one each in Iloilo City and in Jamindan town in Capiz.

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The 45-year-old male patient from Jamindan town in Capiz was in stable condition, according to the DOH-Western Visayas.

The Facebook post of the radio station was later taken down but the site was flooded by condemnation and criticism.

Many used expletives in questioning why the radio station, which is based in the capital town of Kalibo in Aklan, posted an unverified report without checking with its station in Capiz.

“Make sure your report is correct because it is painful for the family of the (patient),” one of those who commented said.

Many said the falsity triggered panic, confusion and unnecessary concern in Capiz.

“Irresponsible reporting. Validate first before posting,” a comment read.

The station posted an apology on its site at 9:49 p.m. on Tuesday.

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“We humbly seek forgivenes for the erroneous report. We immediately took it down upon verification,” it said.

Jonathan Cabrera, the station’s general manager, said the person responsible for posting the report has been suspended pending an investigation by the radio station.

Dr. Jane Juanico, head of the Infectious Disease Section of the DOH in Western Visayas, reminded news organizations and the public to get information on COVID-19 cases from the DOH and the local government units.

“Journalists, including, perhaps especially, the gatekeepers should be very careful in reporting about the pandemic and the people stricken ill,” said Nonoy Espina, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines chair.

“Errors of fact not only trigger panic but also cause irreparable damage to the patient and the family,” he said.

Edited by TSB

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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