Confused Journalism & COVID

Adeel Mukhtar


Adeel Mukhtar

Frenzy draws out the terrible in us. However, awareness spread courage. There is an incredible contrast among frenzy and mindfulness. With mindfulness there is awareness and obligation. One can know about the coronavirus (COVID), mindful of what should be done to limit its spread. In any case, one ought not to exacerbate things. Otherwise, it can make us act selfish and stupid. Those are the side-effects of panic: rational soundness is lost. Since the COVID has entered our psyche, it has gotten ubiquitous. We have been overwhelmed in its reality, in its fearsome force.

In other words, COVID also has a mental infection. Is it conceivable to fixate on something till one gets debilitated with it? Individuals have made themselves sick with their own personalities. In the event that this can occur with singular fixation, what happens when an entire culture fixates on something as intense to the creative mind as the COVID?  Maybe the time has come to build up another psychological virus to check the power of the lethal one. Maybe the time has come to build up an infection of mental fortitude, wellbeing, and solidarity. Insufficient has been said about our state of mind in battling the COVID. Be that as it may, liberality of soul makes us think about our normal endurance. This stirs in us innovative methods for adapting to the anxieties coming about because of the vital measures to contain the spread of the infection. We are never more creative than when we act from mental fortitude.

And in this world of information, journalists have the most important role to play in order to stop chaos from spreading. According to Mr Seth Adjei, Health Promotion Officer with the Ghana Health Service, journalists should report sensibly in order to “report responsibly on the COVID-19 Pandemic to help spread calm and not fear and panic among the populace.” He further said, “Journalists instead of creating fear and panic with their reportage should rather intensify public education on the protocols and directives from the government.” He stressed on “the need to use only developed and approved materials such as posters, leaflets, banners pull ups and billboards for public education in the fight against COVID-19.” He said “effective communication using media tools would help create public awareness for behavioural change in the fight against COVID -19.” Mr Adjei cautioned “media practitioners against sensationalism and publishing opinions, since such publications would undermine the national efforts at fighting the COVID- 19 pandemic.” He said “journalists should eschew reports that would stigmatise patients and discourage those suspected to be exposed to the disease from stepping out for testing.”

Misinformation has become a pressing problem these days and it has not been different in the case of COVID as well. According to the Director General of World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “This is the time for science, not rumors. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma.” On the contrary, media should counter mis-information.

This should be possible by pondering who their crowd may trust, indicating sympathy with those influenced, utilizing suitable language, and clarifying wording. Proper language can likewise be significant in countering shame. The infection doesn’t separate between nationalities or something else, so there’s no explanation columnists should. At last, notwithstanding detailing the story, writers can offer viable data to crowds – or ‘news you can utilize’ – for instance counseling on hand-washing. These littler, reasonable strides from trusted and cutting-edge sources could help illuminate the general population.

The pandemic is causing huge death toll and financial anarchy. The Chinese, Americas, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia all are grappling with its immensity and outcome. However, some journalists in Pakistan are not doing their job sensibly. They seem politicized. Media iscan become the most powerful and helpful weapon in government’s fight against COVID. The discussion on increase in deaths in Karachi, by Pakistan People Party (PPP), ARY etc. may damage Pakistan’s fight against corona virus and spread panic. Despite rebuttal by Dr Seemi Jamali, ARY was towing PPP line and trying to prove that some symptoms of corona virus were detected in bodies other than reported as corona virus cases. This needs to be countered and appropriately handled.