Protecting the community: How digital media promotes safer behavior during the Covid-19 pandemic in authoritarian communities—a case study of the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel

Baruch Shomron, Yossi David

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Covid-19 pandemic has ushered in new behaviors and digital practices. This study explores how digital media has advanced safer behavior among ultra-Orthodox Israeli adults during the pandemic in authoritarian societies. We explored the level of adherence to government-issued health guidelines during the Covid-19 pandemic by conducting a public opinion survey among a representative sample of ultra-Orthodox Israeli adults (N = 500) during the second Covid-19 wave (Autumn 2020). The results show that digital media usage significantly contributes to higher levels of adherence to health guidelines. This offers new insight into the field of new media research, revealing the significant role of digital media in promoting safer behavior in times of emergency in authoritarian communities, possibly because it bypasses Internet censorship and disinformation. It also emphasizes the need for adapting risk communication to the media habits and cultural beliefs of different social groups, in turn contributing to well-being and life itself.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1484-1504
Number of pages21
JournalNew Media and Society
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 4 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • Covid-19
  • ICT
  • Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jews
  • digital media
  • health
  • health guidelines
  • safety
  • ultra-Orthodox

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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