The Government’s COVID fear campaign is “unethical” and “draconian,” experts claim
Last Sunday, 11th of July, the federal government released its newest COVID-19 campaign. The video, which is being broadcast only in NSW, stars a young woman in a hospital bed suffering with a COVID infection. With her eyebrows deeply furrowed, and tubes running into her nose, the woman stares forebodingly into the camera; alone, frantic and gasping desperately for air.
While this campaign has made it abundantly clear that “COVID-19 can affect anyone” experts are warning that fear appeals could be ineffective, especially when target audiences have no ability to change their behaviours. Some critics have even pointed to the irony that the woman in the video is too young to access the recommended Pfizer vaccine.
As Sydneysiders struggle through an extended lockdown, one must question whether fear is really the best tool to inspire public cooperation.
Joining the Daily to answer this question was Professor Jane Speight, a behavioural scientist and Foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes at Deakin University.