Spare Dying Kids from Insensitive Reporting - Saurabh Sharma
The tragedy unfolding in Muzaffarpur has been turned into a sensationalised TV serial.
Dear parachute reporters from Delhi, Mumbai and elsewhere, please stop the drama of Lights, Camera, Action. You are a reporter not an actor.
The nation is shocked and pained by the death of scores of children in Muzaffarpur in Bihar and instead of presenting the facts or investigating the causes, instead of sympathy and understanding towards the weeping kin, many journalists have lost their sensitivity and even humanity. They are barging into Intensive Care Units (ICUs) haranguing doctors and staff, and potentially dispersing infections to seriously ill patients.
A couple of days ago Ajit Anjum of TV9 Bharatvarsh reached the Shri Krishna Medical College & Hospital (SKMCH), the nodal centre for AES patients in Muzaffarpur, and stormed into the critical care ward. He shouted, screamed at the doctor and was later hailed as a ‘hero’ on social media. Later, Anjana Om Kashyap of Aaj Tak, following Anjum’s footsteps did the same and instead of questioning the government or the system she tried to grill a doctor and a nurse of the state-run hospital.
Nowhere in the world can reporters and camera persons enter the ICUs like this. There is clear danger of spreading infection to already dying children. These stunts are geared to get the maximum viewership for their news channels and it is not helping anybody in anyway. I can say from my own experience - I was one of the first reporters from the national media to reach Gorakhpur in 2017 when kids were dying due to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES).
While reporting from Gorakhpur, reporters did not do any piece to camera from inside the ICU even when there was no one to stop them. This happened because senior journalist Manish Pandey who then worked for national Hindi channel Samachar Plus requested all reporters not to go in. Such was the sensitivity reporters donned nose mask, gloves, and other items as precautionary measures. But in Muzaffarpur I could not see any ‘revolutionary’ reporter donning any of these things.
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