Coronavirus: Reality v/s Media Propaganda

The epidemic Coronavirus continues to haunt the world despite desperate measures taken to combat the issue. Fake news and warnings regarding the spread of coronavirus via social media platforms have created panic among the public. Fake news has been circulating faster than the epidemic especially through WhatsApp which is uncensored. Facebook groups and Twitter are no better. Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia are among the topmost countries that have been hoodwinked by the fake information about the virus. 

What is the truth about Coronavirus?
A group of the virus which spreads from animals to humans. Common symptoms include cold, cough, pneumonia or other respiratory disorders. The outbreak is thought to have been from a local seafood market. 

The media propaganda
  • A video featuring two women nurses shaving their head as a precaution from the infection sparked the outrage of many. In no time a pool of criticism gathered online saying that women’s bodies must not be used as a propaganda tool. 
  • The story of a women who came to work after ten days of miscarriage was the one that sparked the people into saying ‘this propaganda is such a failure.’
  • The death of a young doctor Li Wenliang who professed about this virus saw a gush of grief and sorrows. 
  • To provide public support journalists were assigned with the duty of promoting touching stories. As a result, the media came up with the touching stories of pregnant nurses who tend to the patients, of a doctor who came back to work after his been have been diagnosed with the infection etc. 
  • Ridiculous news was about the 20-day old twins asking the whereabouts of their mother. Later the media apologized for confusing the story with another one.
  • An interview with the recovered patient was widely viewed wherein the patient said that it is important to have belief in the doctor, the hospital and the country. This is alleged to be a staged event that was meant to answer the question of whether the lockdown is effective or why the newly built hospitals are not fully operational. Hence, media is trying their best to silence the people too. 

Fake news in social media 
The news propounded by the media had been largely fake and it continues to frighten the people.
  • It was formulated by the media that this virus is a lab-made bioweapon.
  • Dead bodies are littered in the streets of Wuhan.
  • A Facebook post went about asking whether the coronavirus had been invented by the US to destroy China's economy. The top comments confirmed it to be true. 
  •  There are private groups on Facebook that are flooding with fake videos and cooked up theories just to make the public scary and anxious.
  •  The death of a disabled kid under quarantine has been seen in Chinese sites.
  • There was an article published by some researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. The paper was about the similarity between certain protein chains in HIV and coronavirus. The paper wasn’t peer-reviewed. There was also a disclaimer warning it should not be reported on the news media. But it went online soon. It was shared by Indian author and columnist Anand Ranganathan and he claimed that the Chinese virus was designed. This news like a bullet hit the people and it went viral causing more chaos and confusion. The paper was shared via various social media platforms before the researchers considered to withdraw it.

How is the issue being tackled?
  • Anybody who wants to know about the coronavirus through twitter will be led to a link wherein they get access to local health authority and gather the truth. 
  • Twitter has also banned certain accounts that were found to have been circulating take theories. 
  • Those who lookup for any information regarding the epidemic via Google would be directed to the information provided by the World Health Organization. It gives a detailed account of how it is transmitted along with the preventive measures. 

The proliferation of fake news serves to ignite heated debates and panic. It also leads everybody to hate or condemn Chinese citizens and its visitors. This is really not a healthy way to fight the epidemic. For combating the issue eradication of false interpretation and rumors is crucial. All the rumors and planned news reports keep the people away from looking into serious matters and turn the attention to matters which are really foolish. 

Written By: Maryam Salim
Edited By: Nidhi Verma

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Coronavirus: Reality v/s Media Propaganda Coronavirus: Reality v/s Media Propaganda Reviewed by EMN on February 22, 2020 Rating: 5

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