Information Ecosystem Assessment: Migrants in Thailand during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a proliferation of information being spread via local and international media, online and through social media channels. The so called “infodemic” meant risk communication had to tackle simultaneously information gaps and information fatigue. While there was a lot of information produced, it was often not produced locally, but created for a global audience, often in English. It also meant that while it might have been accurate to begin with, it was not necessarily adapted to the local context and at times, was outdated by the time it would reach a more remote community.

Thailand has become an increasingly attractive destination for migrant workers from neighbouring countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region. The World Bank reports that Thailand is the fastest growing destination country in ASEAN, with an increase of 3 million regional migrants between 1995 and 2015 (World Bank, 2018). Inaccessibility to access information in their primary language, and low comprehension of Thai language puts these workers at a distinct disadvantage in accessing information relevant to their context.

This Information Ecosystem Assessment includes the thoughts and opinions of 48 migrant community leaders and migrant workers in Thailand. The information was collected through a series of qualitative and quantitative techniques, using remote data collection methodologies to ensure the safety of participants and researchers and compliance with global and Thai specific restrictions on movement and gathering. We aimed to better understand how information is accessed and how it flows through this community. We hope that findings of this research will support improved communication with migrant populations, both during this pandemic and in future crises.