As the first case of the coronavirus was announced in Turkey, the news and social media caused fear and panic. SAT-7 TÜRK’s program World View spoke out about God’s peace to send hope into the lives of its viewers.
“Unfortunately, here in Istanbul, there are rumors and exaggerations about the coronavirus,” shares Volkan Er, Presenter of the Christian news program World View. “Because of the virus, we are seeing a consumption madness. In the news, we see empty shelves in markets as if we are running out of food, and this is making selfishness and greed apparent.”
Speaking into these circumstances, the presenters of World View balanced sharing facts and information about the coronavirus and its impact on people, with biblical hope and encouragement.
To inform SAT-7 TÜRK viewers about the coronavirus, a public service announcement was created, detailing the facts about the coronavirus, its symptoms, precautionary measures and travel advice. This was included in the episode of World View but is also shared more widely across the channel’s other programs.
“We are seeing that elderly citizens, those with pre-existing conditions, and those with children are most at risk,” says Volkan. “But of course, we will take the advice our doctors give us, wash our hands, and use the cleaning material we are advised to use.”
“We must be sensible and calm,” he continues to reassure viewers. “We trust our Lord, we have a living God. He is going to lead us. We have the opportunity to be a light to others and emphasize Christ in this situation. But first of all, we must be sensible.”
“Unfortunately, due to its globalization, we are aware that the risk of its spreading is very high, and we can presume that the number of cases in Turkey will increase,” shares co-host Senem Ekener. “But we do not need to live as slaves to fear.”
“We must stand against this fear and panic in a courageous manner, because the Bible says this: ‘for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and self-control’ (2 Tim 1:7)” added Volkan.
Differing from other public service announcements, SAT-7 TÜRK concluded theirs with a prayer:
“Lord, we bring all the people who are impacted by this epidemic before you. We pray in your name that the people who have this virus will be healed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
On March 11, the coronavirus was labeled a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), with cases across the world surpassing 100,000. According to WHO, there are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 fatalities. Many countries across the world are struggling to respond to this epidemic, confronted with a lack of capacity and resources. Restrictions and quarantines have become common.
While these facts and figures may instill fear, it is an opportunity for Christians to be a voice of calm and hope, to act wisely and sensibly, and to trust God.
While travel and movement is severely restricted and traditional models of ministry curtailed, SAT-7 is broadcasting as normal, crossing borders and boundaries. Christian television programs are still making worship and biblical teaching available to everyone in the region, informing them and calming fears.
Please pray that SAT-7 will be a voice of reassurance at this time, and that the programs will encourage viewers to take necessary precautions without fear and panic.