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Call for paper: 19



Communication of fear in the Covid-19 pandemic: data and fear of death


In order to mobilize millions of citizens around the world, governments and institutions have chosen to touch the key of fear. The invasive daily information and updates of the deceased have been the constant dynamic in almost all the media.
The widespread use of even war terminology has further increased the unleashing of the human feeling of fear.
Curiously, the image of death has not been personalized, it has practically didn’t put a face to suffering. The images of the disinfectant spreaders were unrecognizable human beings, without a face, under a diving suit, the anonymous coffins in the morgues, the
crosses without names in mass graves in the most disadvantaged areas of the planet.
A social alarm and a feeling of insecurity that, linked with fear, forces the communication of the different meanings of a human; in the middle of insecurity (Rufino,2017) pushing him on the ; facing the hope of something that is threatened and in which people stop believing.
The most globalized communication of this new century of a human catastrophe has been dehumanized. With the exception of some of the faces of the health workers showing their exhaustion and request for help, of some rare patient who had suffered or was suffering from the disease or was leaving the ICU in the end among applause, the rest have been numbers: the terror of numbers.
Fear has been instilled with a persuasive will by the number of deaths: in a year more than 2 million six hundred.
It could not have been otherwise: in the era of Big data, of the quantitative, data is the best weapon for the communication of fear.
Data, that transfer aseptic numbers of victims of a common enemy, the Covid-19 virus, terribly terrifying, because nothing was known about it and was out of control (Legrenzi, 2021).
As said in the words of Callejo Gallego mentioning a book by Calvo (2003), society is a thriller starring public opinion; in a foreboding way, it reflects on a society adrift, driven by one epidemic after another, submerged in the unapproachable globalization, and the hyper presence of the media with a climate of opinion frightened by uncertainty that makes the message of fear your most effective propagandist. Callejo Gallego and Calvo drawn a political and social context such as that of Spain in 2003 that, curiously, has been exacerbated in the media and in politics in 2020 with the Covid-19 pandemic, in a supposedly very different social and political landscape.
Communication fears have been renamed (Gross, 2009) when the discussion was still open on what type of information public opinion needs in a moment of danger, catastrophe or crisis, a discussion that was giving rise to the emergence of the so- called Communication of the risk (Farré, 2005) in relation to the formation of spirals of fear, closely related to the idea of ​​the spiral of fear (Noelle-Neumann, 1977), which already advocated the threat of isolation to individuals with their own thoughts, non- majority ideas or facts. The climate of opinion generated by the media push individuals with different positions to remain silent. The media become the vehicle for the New version of the Low Intensity War, where anyone can perceive themselves as threatened (Salazar, 2009).
Statistics are used in the media as a trigger to create and manipulate feelings of fear (Riaño-Vargas, Rocha-Salamanca, 2020).
Social fear already described and found in societies deprived of liberty, threatened by death, state murder or terrorism, which force the closure of public spaces, spatial segregation, social fragmentation, the lack of places of Encuentro (Rebolledo, 2000) describe a reality that refers to Chile, the fear of dissent, but all that dramatically remind us of the empty spaces of the recent confinement.

Before the 2019 pandemic, fear was already circulating on the media, at the whim of the creation of public opinion: events had already taken over the news, the events chosen in the news were already showing and radicalizing the news. Differences of races, creating confrontations of gender, class, communities, languages, instilling racial, gender or economic panic (Arella, 2008).
The communication of fear was not always linked to the manipulation of public opinion, the power of the State or the support of one or another ideology. The communication of fear begins in childhood with the Babau (Buzzati, 1967), El Coco, la Cuca, Der schwarze Mann, Omul Negru;Uomo nero, the Bogeyman, through children;s stories, and it evolves in adult narratives in books, series or movies; fears take shape and become M, The Düsseldorf Vampire (Lang, 1931), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford, 1962) or American Sniper (Eastwood, 2015); fears resemble the adult man to the child.
Rudolf Allers, Catholic psychiatrist and philosopher, describes the emotion that plagues fear as that of an adult who, faced with the uncertainty of his own existence, faced with the unknown that rears its terrifying head behind a subtle wall of known things, finds himself as a a child who, due to his ignorance and ignorance of the world, gets scared and scared to death seeking refuge in the arms of those who should give him back his security (Allers, 1936).
The expression “dead of fear” is really the binomial of the keywords that deeply hides this emotion, in its last stop: the fear of death.

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