Today, billions of people are fighting with deadly COVID 19 pandemic. The media acts as a bridge between quarantined and isolated people and the outer world. This is the time when all educational, economical, private, and government departments are shutting down. Most of the people have no work to do. So, they generally watch the news in their maximum time to experience the outlying. In the United States, the percentage of people in front of the television is 60% while in India it is about 43% in men and 33 % in women. Media is a very powerful instrument to build an opinion regarding a particular content. People have their faith in media so they believe in news and updates shown on screen.
COVID 19 pandemic is resulting as a challenge for many channels that cover sports and movies because of the stoppage of all these activities. Channels like DD National has converted this challenge into an opportunity to increase the TRP by restarting the programs like Ramayana and Mahabharata again. While on the other hand, some news channels are broadcasting programs like religious debates, debunk news, and Islamophobic news that can affect the viewer’s emotions directly.
The spread of rumors and misinformation
A team of doctors, health workers and revenue officials who had gone to identify the family members of a 65-year-old man who died of COVID-19 were attacked in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, on April 2, after fake videos claimed that healthy Muslims were being taken away and injected with the virus, reiterating the dangers and physical manifestations of misinformation. In the month of March when this virus starts spreading, the news channels were transmitting information about the origin and conspiracy theories of the virus.
Then after in month of April, a new trend was observed where communally charged misinformation targeting Muslims became frequent. The rumors of extending lockdown for three months was also debunked. Later clarification came when thousands of migrant workers undertook a long journey from urban centers on foot to their homes. If the people and government charge the media for their actions, then they would spend the rest of the life behind the bars.
Many questions on media also comes like government curbing. India does not fall under this kind of activity. But in the last few months, we had observed that China has ordered their media not to show any news related to COVID 19 on television because it may cause panic to their people. And the media acted like a lapdog. They hide all the updates regarding this pandemic. However, media in the United States of America has openly displayed every story of COVID 19. They don’t hide the counts of infected and deceased people, and they even show the news of shortage of N95 masks in their country.
Is there any need to curb the media in the face of a pandemic? As the count of causalities increases from the coronavirus, the reporting of a journalist may cause inconvenience and fear of criticism to the government. But it is important to disclose all the counts regarding this pandemic. The role of media in the situation is very crucial as doctors and cops. They have the responsibility to update the society, to build an opinion about the government, and to decide the next step for the same. Also, in lockdown media is helping many NGOs to come up and help the needy people. They broadcast messages to their contacts and their contacts forward that message to their friends and family for the noble cause.
Through this initiative, many people came forward to help. They cook food every day with the help of locals and distribute food packets to the poor and needy people. They also ask people to donate raw food material so they can cook for more people. After their request, many donors came forward to donate food grains. For the formation of a healthy society, there should be a healthy media.