Although important incidents of misleading information related to the global COVID-19 pandemic have been examined by both journalists and academics, the various sources of such information and the magnitude of its impact have yet to be fully comprehended. Additionally, there are cases and contexts that are underrepresented in current studies. To address this gap, this article examines the online social milieux of labour migrants from Uzbekistan to Russia as potential source of misleading information related to COVID-19. Specifically, this article looks at discussions and posts shared on thematic groups across social media platforms such as Odnoklassniki, VKontakte, Facebook, and Telegram through a netnographic lens, identifying five COVID-19-related narrative clusters: 'the remedy,' 'practical information,' 'the news,' 'asking for help,' and 'conspiracies and religion.' As all these narrative clusters have been found to contain misleading information, the article initiates a discussion on the role that thematic social media groups can play in (dis)informing labour migrants.
This paper analyses the role of thematic social media groups designed for labour migrants from Uzbekistan to Russia as sources of information about COVID-19.
This study identifies five COVID-19-related narrative clusters shared in these groups: 'the remedy,' 'practical information,' 'the news,' 'asking for help,' and 'conspiracies and religion.'
COVID-19-related information appears to have been dangerously misleading in all five identified narrative clusters.
15:00 - 15:05 Opening remarks
15:05 - 15:35 Report Presentation: “I Saw It on the Internet!” COVID-19 Narratives across Online Milieux of Uzbek Labour Migrants in Russia
Rashid Gabdulhakov, Assistant Professor | Centre for Media and Journalism Studies | University of Groningen
15:35 - 16:00 Q&A Session
About the Speaker & the Fellowship
Dr. Rashid Gabdulhakov is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Media and Journalism Studies at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He teaches in the Media Studies BA programme and researches social media in the context of Russia and Central Asia.
OSCE Academy in Bishkek (https://www.osce-academy.net/) is a public foundation, established in 2002 between the Kyrgyz Government and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The Academy promotes the principles and values of the OSCE through post-graduate education, professional training and intellectual exchange. Moreover, the Academy hosts Research Fellowships, as well as publishes articles, policy briefs, and research papers on questions relevant to the Academy’s mission.