The Need For A More Humanitarian News Reporting During A Pandemic
The Need For A More Humanitarian News Reporting During A Pandemic

At this hour of crisis when a country and to be more precise, the globe is battling a lethal pandemic like Covid-19, there will obviously be a tendency among people to glue to their televisions or to their internet sources to get news updates about the development that has gripped the world. There are various platforms that one is accessing to in order to get their regular bunch of updates. In such a situation, sensitive or sensible reporting is what is opted for.

Image Source: The Wire

When a crisis grips popular minds, there is a tendency that news and information are at times hyped or exaggerated for the sake of their own TRPs (Television Rating Points). Also, there are media houses that have political collaborations as a result of which profit making or gaining petty favours becomes the sole motive. Capitalistic tendencies overshadow all other welfare motives.

Recently, amidst all these crises, there has been a trend carried forward by many news agencies to telecast news that heightens communal sentiments so to speak. At a juncture where the human civilization is encompassed by a natural calamity, as human beings with flesh, blood and mind, it is the duty of media houses to come up with reporting that can be of some help to the people. 


Specifically, in a country like India where a substantial chunk of people lives in abject poverty without access to basic education, news is gulped down arbitrarily without any rationale attached to it. Social media too has a lot to do with it. People who bear the responsibility to keep people well informed about the know-how of the crisis should better act with enough sanity and prudence. There has been instances where media houses have broadcast news which shows how there are cases where people have congregated in religious gatherings despite of the national lock-down that has been imposed.

Image Source: Gulf News

Zee News has been broadcasting news in a derogatory manner where they are using languages which spells out extremely hateful sentiments towards Muslims. That Muslims who attended the Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin are being traced or hunted down is the kind of languages used by right-centric news agencies. Similarly, in Assam, Prag News has been insensitively broadcasting news that diverts the attention from the centre of discord currently, i.e. Covid-19.

Also read: Lock-Ups & Lock-Downs: Reflections On Indian Prison System During Covid-19

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Now, there can be two rationales to it. First, there are of course other people too in powerful political positions holding such gatherings in public spaces amidst this lock down which is not being reported by some ‘designated’ media houses for obvious reasons. Second, telecasting or attacking a community just because of underlying communal tensions in India is going to earn no acclamation to anyone proselytising such fear mongering among the populace. It will just create a divide among people at a point which needs maximum co-operation and co-ordination among all sections of people that is battling the crisis.

telecasting or attacking a community just because of underlying communal tensions in India is going to earn no acclamation to anyone proselytising such fear mongering among the populace.

The country has already been facing the backlashes of CAA-NRC proceedings where several regions have become hotbeds of communal violence. Be it Assam, or states like U.P. and Delhi, the heightened communal clashes have not only claimed various lives but has also created a climate of dissent. The sentiments of the minority community have been gripped with ideas that their lives are clutched in terror and that they will have no freedom of speech, voice and aspirations. Hoax reporting is to be considered a faux pas. Exaggerated ‘spice’ need not be attached to news reporting at an hour of emergency to meet political gains. 

Image Source: The Economic Times

Sensible individuals who could gauge the pitfalls have been opining that news have become a big political gimmickry and it is an absolute difficulty to differentiate between an ethical, nuanced and truthful reporting and which is not. It is of course subjective and there can be variations on a case to case and region to region basis.

The medical professionals and epidemiologists have themselves said that the virus has been affecting different individuals differently and there is not any linear pattern observed so far. As a result, the number of cases have been escalating globally. In such a situation, rendering to holding up one particular group of people responsible for the spread is quite unjustified and irrational so to speak.

Also read: Covid-19 And Multiple Racist Attacks Against North-East Indians

It is time for some ethical and conscientious journalistic stunts rather than being puppets for meeting menial ends.

Featured Image Source: Huffpost India

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