The coronavirus lockdown obviously also has an influence on how we deal with the media and the media itself that should not be underestimated, as SeaHelp just learned through a report in the Austrian Kurier. What had happened? SeaHelp, not a club but a private company, had “redeemed” a member and nagging troublemaker virtually on its own and, as a precaution, had not extended its membership.
Damage to reputation in Internet forums
The member had set itself the goal of damaging the reputation of the company based in Austria by making deliberately derogatory comments in relevant Internet forums. The extent to which such an occurrence has journalistic relevance for a media company such as the Kurier may be questioned there.
It is SeaHelp’s usual practice to publish reports on the homepage on the subject of Adriatic holidays, especially in the region of Croatia, on the homepage and also to post them on social networks such as Facebook in order to give readers the opportunity to comment on the news and to supplement them with constructive remarks.
Controversial issue: quarantine extension
Here is an illustration of the chronological sequence:
- On May 15, SeaHelp published an article stating that Whitsuntide will bring down major travel restrictions for yacht owners and that an Andriatic holiday is possible, referring to the publication in the Austrian Federal Gazette. Here is the link to the Federal Law Gazette for the Republic of Austria (last document, decree 196 article 3 number 3). According to this, one could have entered Austria from Croatia without subsequent quarantine on 1 June 2020 (Whit Monday).
- In the late afternoon of 27 May, at 14.41 hrs to be precise, the news agency APA briefly reported that the existing regulations on entry into Austria would be extended.
- In the evening of 27 May, the confirmation of this announcement was found in the Federal Law Gazette for the Republic of Austria. In decree 233 under article 2 number 2 it was stated that the quarantine regulation was extended until 15 June 2020.
- SeaHelp produced a corresponding article in the evening hours of 27 May, which went online on 28 May 2020 and, due to the urgency of the situation, was additionally delivered via push message.
On the basis of these hard, reliable facts, based on publications in the Federal Law Gazette of the Republic of Austria, SeaHelp considers the requirements for timely reporting to be fulfilled, especially since interested users were also actively informed via push notifications, i.e. received this information without any action on their part.
164,000 readers understood the article – only two did not
At the time of publication, this statement was based on hard facts set out in the Federal Law Gazette of the Republic of Austria. The addressee of a complaint from the excited “two-man community” on Facebook at that time would have been the State of Austria rather than SeaHelp. The report properly quoted and pointed out that a possible successor regulation could come into effect. The predominant readership, to be precise, according to Google Analytics 164,000 readers, understood the message. Only the two excited people in question obviously did not want to understand it at all or did not even read the article.
On Thursday 28 May, the Thursday before Whitsun, the quarantine regulation was finally extended until 15 June – a last-minute action, which also received a mixed response in the media. SeaHelp communicated the relevant article immediately after the Austrian government’s decision, by push message and also on Facebook, so that the information was also accessible to all interested parties.
Facts speak against accusations of false reporting
So far, so good. But not for the fake Facebook duo. Instead of making their own decision after evaluating the information, as one might expect of mature Internet users, they have in the meantime risen above the rest of the Facebook users. There was even talk of a “fight against SeaHelp false reports”. A statement against which SeaHelp had to defend itself decisively and which is also proven by the comprehensible changes in the Austrian Federal Law Gazette.
SeaHelp community provided valuable information
SeaHelp believes that during the Corona pandemic, it will provide all relevant facts and figures on the issue of importance to the user group in a timely manner. This is obviously the view of the majority of members and mature users of SeaHelp communication channels. It is only thanks to their assistance through constructive contributions on Facebook, information via e-mail and telephone, and their own further research that SeaHelp has been able to communicate a picture of the actual situation on site that has served boat owners and vacationers as a valuable decision-making aid for a stay in the relevant holiday destinations.
Facebook is not a playground for querulous naggers
Whoever uses our communication channels sensibly and not for querulantoric nagging, can get a good impression of the current situation in Croatia, Slovenia and Northern Italy and decide for himself whether a holiday or a stay on a yacht makes sense according to his personal needs and living conditions in Croatia. The untenable public accusation of spreading false reports could not be abandoned, because the facts clearly spoke against it. Or to put it clearly: “Those who can read are clearly at an advantage”.
For SeaHelp, this correction marks the end of the process, as we return to our core business in these stormy times – on land and at sea: Helping our members and providing fact-based information.