It is not just the Coronavirus outbreak that we’re dealing with today, India already had another pandemic at loose, biased journalism. This bias is once again reflected in the coverage of the Coronavirus outbreak in the country. Have you, while watching the news these days, given the fact a thought that why are you only seeing rising cases in Mumbai and Delhi? When has a news channel focused on some other state?
In March, as soon as the word went out that a large number of members of Tablighi Jamat have been tested positive for Covid-19, all the mainstream news channels geared up for yet another round of pandering. From Navika Kumar’s calling the Jamatis an “unruly lot” to Arnab’s allegations of Tablighis conspiring against India, everyone went ballistic. Twitter trended #CoronaJihad and #JamaatiVirus for days.
The media should have reported the issue, no second thought to that. But it should’ve also highlighted the fact that at the time, many of the public worship places were open all over the country. In Primetime debates targeting the Tablighis, the Muslim community as a whole was a culprit aka co-conspirator.
As the news faded, the coverage was then focused on Mumbai and Delhi which are also two states not ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Delhi, the ‘proxies’ alleged doesn’t have enough beds while AAP’s Sanjay Singh denies it by saying that Delhi government hospitals have 46% beds available. Raghav Chaddha of AAP bashed the fake news that Delhi hospitals don’t have enough beds for Covid-19 patients and attacked BJP of politicising the issue and not doing anything where it holds the power to. In a debate on India TV, he argued that MCD, which is under Central Government has 3500 beds but not a single one of them has been allotted for treating Coronavirus patients. Sambit Patra, BJP’s spokesperson, joining in on with Chaddha, had no answer.
Furthermore, Raghav put forth the point of why there was no furor when the Karnataka government ordered all Bangalore hospitals to not treat any patients from Kerala. Why is Delhi being attacked for doing the same? Karnataka is ruled by BJP and no debates were aired regarding that.
Then, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia came forward to inform that by July the city will have 5.5 lakh cases and the blame-game began once again. NDTV went a step further and argued “are there enough doctors in Delhi? What exactly is going on in Delhi?’
The so-called upholder of truth took us on tours to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan and Safdarjung hospitals where unarguably, grim pictures were on display.
With ‘apparent responsibility’ they announced that Mumbai has now outstripped Wuhan in terms of the number of Coronavirus cases. An Aaj Tak anchor then said “Ram bharose nahin, Modi bharose.”
No similar grim pictures are available for other states, says Gujarat which has now crossed 21,000 cases with 70% concentrated in Ahmadabad. Where does this apparent responsibility vanish when it comes to Madhya Pradesh? Bhopal just reported more than 78 cases in a day and the state total is now more than 10,000.
No, you probably won’t see any coverage for them or other states. Prem Anand Mishra writes for National Herald that “there is no objective truth but a lot of malice, there is no accountability but to serve the regime.”
He also mentions an episode from Plato’s Meno wherein Socrates asks Anytus, “how can you know what is good or bad in something when you have no experience of it?” The response was, “quite easily, at any rate, I know their kind, whether I’ve had experience or not.”