By Col Abhi Athavale (retd), from Maratha Light Infantry
The fourth pillar of Indian democracy has drastically failed to induce confidence amongst the Indian people.
The national print and the Television news channels are to be blamed for the panic caused amongst the people in India.
The supreme Court says it cannot gag the media from reporting. True it should be allowed to report in a free, unbiased and factual way.
But here is the catch– recently on the Pandemic all that the media is reporting is only one side of the coin.
Has anyone noticed or given any thought on how all the leading English print media, and the regional print media are reporting on the 2nd wave of Chinese Corona pandemic?
It is a unprecedented tragedy which has taken place for the second consecutive year.
During the past fortnight all the headlines appearing on front pages of various Indian news papers and the foreign digital media and print media highlight the gory pictures of corona deaths, ghastly TV interviews of the relatives of the corona patients wailing and crying at the hospitals for want of Beds, oxygen, Remdesivir.
Prominent Indian and foreign news channels showed live Coverage of the funerals and cremations.
They are showing figures of Corona deaths in India on a daily basis. Creating fear psychosis among the people.
Why hasn’t the so called “Responsible” indian media questioned and demanded answers from the NYT, Washington Post as to why they were showing gory and repulsive pictures of the cremations? It is very disturbing, disappointing, and disrespectful for them to show the mass cremations as if it was a advertisement.
According to me this media is primarily responsible for creating panic and projecting a false picture of the inefficiency of the government of India. And that, “Too little is done by the government”.
Instead of the blame game has anyone from the media barons sat with the health minister and tried to find out if the decision to vaccinate the age group between 18 – 45 was a bit premature, miss judging the demand and supply of the vaccine?
I want to ask these media people a question. Why is it that you are behaving in a irresponsible manner?
Media is considered as the fourth pillar of democracy, media, has mitigated this asymmetry of information to a large extent. Freedom of press provides journalists unparalleled power to report on political, social and economic issues, events and policy decisions. The Right to Information Act has been another powerful tool to solve for information asymmetry, though the media operates at a much faster pace and caters to the masses. Social media has further democratized access to information and opinion.
Fine.. But why is that the fourth pillar is hell bent on demonizing the Corona 2nd wave by creating a picture of doom and death, thus demoralizing the Covid patients and their families?
Shamelessly they show videos of wailing relatives beating their chests. Complaining about the hospital and the government. They have every right to vent their anger. Agree. But why the emotional showman ship.
Why are they not writing about the number of cases cured, percentage of number of cases going down!! Percentage of number of cases being discharged, and the percentage of deaths….
Why are they not telling the opposition instead of playing politics to come together in a constructive way in helping the government thus strengthening their fight against Corona?
Why no report or interviews of the Covid warriors Doctors, paramedics?
The Dr’s and the Paramedics don’t need your praise or sympathy, but they do need assurance that they are not alone and the media is standing with them shoulder to shoulder.
Our Tri Services ie.. The Army, Navy, and the IAF are doing their best in bringing in supplies and distributing them. Write a word about them.. But NO it seems that the media is only interested in reporting inflammatory news. The TV reporters when they question relatives of the unfortunate patients who lost their battle for life look nothing less than media vultures. It is sickening to watch them pounce on them for just a byte or two.
What is the contribution of the media to raise awareness amongst people to follow Covid norms. Wear masks and and obey social distancing. What is their contribution on educating the asymptomatic and symptomatic patients to not panic and how best they can be treated cured by home quarantine. Mum is the word.
Dr Gularia director of AIIMS had clearly said that 80% of the such patients need not be hospitalised and also don’t need oxygen, and can be cured by home quarantine… Why has the media not educated the people on this.
The forth pillar of democracy has a important role to play in our society.
They are a tool which can help the society in a positive way.. One of the fundamental responsibilities of the media is ETHICS, Professionalism, and Objective. Which appears to be missing while reporting on the 2nd wave of the Chinese virus .
The media effect describes how certain stories that the news or media publishes may influence and/or amplify current issues.
Investigative journalism is a important part of research and reporting. The so called free press reports about the black marketing, hoarding of oxygen and Remdesivir but makes no attempt to investigate it and give the feedback to the police.
Mr Poonawalla it seems has fled the country inspite of the fact that he was provided with ‘Y’ category cover. He lands up in UK, the reason given by him in the press release is that he is threatened by the CM’s and influential business men in India.. Did media try and dig into this? NO. Who are the CM’s and influential business men who threatened him?
The real reason must be unearthed.
The GOI has given a grant of 3,600 crores to Serum Institute of India, and orders worth 1,500/-Crores of orders which have not been fully honoured. Could it be that Poonawalla’s overconfidence to supply the ordered vaccine did not match with the demand and supply of the vaccine?
Or is this the main issue behind his fleeing to UK. Read on…
We need answers.. And that too fast.
Questions should be asked to Adar Poonawalla by the media as to why he wants to invest in the UK when India is facing a shortage of Vaccines. Or have their investigative skills have died down?
Remember India has given a grant of 3,000 crores to Serum Institute of India.
Do we smell a rat here..!!!
It was also revealed that the Serum Institute of India (SII) has started phase one trials in the UK of a nasal vaccine against Chinese virus.
What India and South Africa desperately need is Patent wavers for the Vaccines. Instead of reporting about the failure of the government to supply the vaccine our press should aggressively force the US and EU to comply with the demands for the betterment of the global population. This is not the time for Pharma Co’s like Pfizer, Astrazenica to think about arm twisting by unfair demands of having military bases in exchange for the vaccine.
This is certainly not the time for the Pharma’s to be selfish and count profits. Even if the US agrees for the patent waver with certainly the EU will follow, it will still take atleast months for the other Co’s to manufacture the vaccine. As patent wavers don’t translate in to giving the formula of the Vaccines. Reverse engineering will have to be done in order to produce the vaccine that too after the clinical trials.