The current Covid-19 pandemic constitutes a global crisis because of the twin impacts of the virus on the international population and economic health.

The rapidly worsening situation for national wellbeing in many scores of countries represents an on-going crisis for which no end point is yet in sight.

The return to global normality will only occur when the virus has lost its potency in affected populations.

Expert guesses as to when this may begin suggest that a gradual return to normal community life may be months away. Economic recovery may take longer.

The effects of the Covid-19 scourge are continuing to come home to roost in Australia.

In our towns and districts we have become acutely aware of what the crisis means for our usual way of life.

The social and economic problems arising are not of our making but they are what they are and we must deal with them.

One thing we expect, however, is that we are all kept in the loop about the scale of the dangers to ourselves and our families, the consequences for our jobs and livelihoods, the on-going well-being of everyone – young and old, and a clear understanding of how, what and why our governments are responding.

Small businesses of all types are affected by the range of decisions made by government and health authorities to limit and eventually expunge the menace of Covid-19.

Newspaper businesses such as The Courier, are among those adversely affected but in the spirit of traditional newspaper publications we remain determined to maintain the long-established role of the Fourth Estate to perform the societal tasks its readership allows; to report, chronicle, comment, act as a forum, and warn and advise the readership we serve.

The only mandate we have comes from the community.

But any mandate, unwritten or otherwise comes with responsibilities and obligations.

We believe we have honoured such a commitment over the past 100 years.

Some of our readers have already been in contact with us over concerns about the tidal waves of misinformation, misdirection and false claims that have flowed since the onset of the current situation – including social media sites.

Certainly, the pace of events stemming from the crisis has resulted in the transmission of incorrect information.

Not all the wrong information is issued with deception in mind.

The ‘fake news’ and misinformation problem in the United States, may be much greater than in this country and the trend has attracted an on-going academic study in that country.

One early conclusion is that ‘Headlines Matter’ – because on social media that is the only thing many people see. A secondary finding is that when such errors are corrected people tend to still favour the original false statement. The problem of false material is compounded when people share the misleading or wrong statements on-line.

The Courier’s editorial staff are trained journalists, hard-pressed because of the Covid-19 isolation and other requirements, but we seek to ensure that the information which we publish is checked and accurate up to the time of publication.

We know that the news and information we supply to our readers constitutes an essential service in this time of great distress and uncertainty.

Our local community has the ‘right to know’ in a crisis as all-embracing as this.

For example, we are now to have more information on the number of Covid -19 cases in local government areas – this information was not available until today.

The Courier has been advocating for that information and Member for New England Adam Marshall to his great credit has taken the lead and won a change to what seems to have been a bureaurcratic misstep. We thank readers for their support and feedback and look forward to continuing our century-old role of providing a vital service to our community.

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