oppn parties Alarmist Stories On Covid-19 Are Disgusting And Irresponsible Journalism

News Snippets

  • Terrorists strike on the outskirts of Srinagar, kill 2 BSF men
  • Alluding to the border dispute with India, Nepal PM says "Indian virus" is more dangerous than the Chinese or Italian virus
  • Bengaluru hears a mysterious booming sound. Agencies investigating the matter. Met says not due to earthquake. IAF says could be due to supersonic speeds attained by test flights but inquiries ar on.
  • Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Puri says it will not be viable to keep the middle seat of aircrafts vacant when air travel starts from Monday, 25th May
  • JEE(Main) registrations reopened. Candidates can apply until May 24
  • Junaid Sehrai, a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander, killed in an encounter with the security forces at Nawa Kadal in Srinagar
  • Railways to run 200 non-AC trains from June 1
  • Centre changes rules for Shramik special trains, terminating states' permission no longer mandatory
  • Rahul Gandhi asks the government to reconsider the economic package, advises it transfer money directly to the poor
  • SBI gets Rs 1.25 lakh crore growth in deposits in April 2020
  • Cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potatoes to be de-regularized
  • The Centre decides to amend the Essential Services Act to ensure better prices for farmers
  • Housing subsidy scheme CLSS for middle-income group extended till March 2021
  • 50 lakh street vendors to be provided Rs 10000 each as working capital loan
  • Free food will be given to migrants. Each family to get 5 kgs of wheat/rice and 1 kg chana. Measure to benefit 8 crore families with the government spending Rs 3500 crore
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Alarmist Stories On Covid-19 Are Disgusting And Irresponsible Journalism

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-03-29 10:06:57

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

Any crisis, especially a pandemic like Covid-19, is the time when the media has a huge role in keeping the people updated with genuine news. This is so because, at such times, know-alls come out of the woodwork to spread all kinds of rumours and cures. With social media getting hyper-activated in times of the lockdown and self-isolation, these mischievous handouts from obscure sources, unfortunately, get spread exponentially. Hence, it is upon the media to scotch these rumours and help prevent the people from getting alarmed unnecessarily.

Obviously, this does not mean that the media will not point out the shortcomings of the government in fighting the epidemic. It would be failing in its duty if it does not inform the people of how and why the government is being lax in combating the pandemic. The people have the right to know if the government is doing the right things, in the right ways and at the right times to fight the epidemic. But that does not give media the license to twist news or try and 'create' one when it does not exist. This license is not available to the media at any time but in times of such crisis, it has an added responsibility to shun alarmist tendencies.

Hence, it is disgusting that a news website put out an alarmist story about India having already entered the third stage of Covid-19 transmission. That it used inputs from obscure sources to put the story together perhaps fits well with its self-declared mission of telling "stories no one else is willing to tell". But did it gel with its other stated objective of asking its contributors to "dig deep, long and hard for the truth"? Truth was obviously going to be the first casualty when the person whose inputs formed the basis of the story was not qualified to make those statements. He had no authority and the website tried to 'build' that authority around him to convince the readers into believing what he was saying was true.

Read the original article here 

India may yet enter the third stage due to other lapses on part of the government, but jumping the gun and announcing it as a done thing when it has not yet progressed to that stage is not responsible journalism. If the third stage does happen, the website might say "we told you so" with glee, but that is not the way to do things. The media should wait for confirmation and collate news from different sources to be doubly sure before putting out such alarmist stories.

Readers are advised to form their own opinion after reading the original (updated later) article and the article that exposed the story as fake.

Read the article that exposed it as fake here