Pandemic: Media Vultures on Rampage Seeking Flesh of The Dead by Jaipal Singh SignUp
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Analysis Share This Page
Pandemic: Media Vultures on Rampage Seeking Flesh of The Dead
by Dr. Jaipal Singh Bookmark and Share

In the previous piece “International Media Blitz and Yellow Journalism in Covid Times”, this author had analysed with relevant data and evidence how nearly every country in the world but more particularly the US and other developed and affluent countries of the Western Europe had experienced shortages and mismanagement of critical supplies of essential medicines, equipment, hospital beds and even mortuary services. However, the mainstream Western media remained discreet and exercised utmost restraints throughout while reporting ground situation in these countries. As against this, when India faced similar situation for some time in April-May 2021 during the second coronavirus wave, the same media have gone on rampage in publishing bizarre accounts of the shortages of medicines, oxygen, hospital beds as well as crude images of the burning dead bodies at the cremation grounds. Thanks to a few Indian politicians looking at the tragedy as opportunity and some journalists willing to sell their souls for few dollars, during their vulgar description, some of them even declared “India’s hell”, “India is doomed”, and so on, while square passing blame on only Indian leader i.e., Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India.

Quite obviously, it is not merely the yellow journalism for petty gains; instead, it appears a well thought out and much bigger strategy and plot, as would be evident from the facts and analysis in the subsequent paragraphs, of the opposition and vested interests in the country and a section of the international media to exploit the pandemic situation in destabilizing the country and weakening its government by turning people against them through exaggerated and even fake reporting. As if a continuous crusade maligning the image of the country and top leadership was not suffice, the same international media and vested interests in the country have now gone one step further by singling out the most populous and politically relevant state of Uttar Pradesh for the alleged mismanagement and misreporting of the Covid situation in the state. Several international media outlets have published reports and crude pictures of the sand graves of dead from a cremation ghat at the banks of the River Ganges in the Prayagraj district linking it to the Covid-19 mismanagement by the state government under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Media Reports on Sand Graves of Human Corpses

This started with the drone footage shot by Reuters some time back around middle May showing numerous dead bodies buried in (shallow) graves on the banks of River Ganges linking it to the Covid deaths about a week back. The footage and story was promptly picked up by many newspapers and Television media groups at home and internationally and the same is currently depicted as a hot news targeting the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for insensitivity and mismanagement by the state government under him. Various media groups such as The Washington Times, The New York Times, The Gardian, The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) Network, The Sky News, The Telegraph, The Dawn, Al Jazeera, Los Angeles Times, and so on, as also many Indian newspapers and TV networks have published graphic details on the subject. In their bizarre descrition, some of the foreign media sources have even outrightly declayered that India has turned into the graveyard.

Some of these reports cite the place as the river bank in Shringaverpur located on the outskirts of the city of Prayagraj while others have narrated story citing it as Sangam, the holy place of confluence of three rivers namely Ganga (Ganges in Western media), Yamuna and mythical Sarasvati. According to the foreign media, the hospitals and crematoriums are full and struggling amid the deadly second Covid-19 wave and are unable to cop up with the disposal of the sheer number of dead; hence the river is seen as a viable alternative for the funeral rites by the people. The shocking footage shot by various television and newspaper groups show numerous graves separated by bamboo sticks and covered with the saffron cloth buried along the banks of Ganga in Prayagraj criticising the state government and chief minister for the apathy and mismanagement of the Covid-19 dead. Some reports have also suggested that the Prayagraj municipal corporation has now deployed a team in Sangam area to cover the bodies exposed due to rain.

The reports suggest that the bodies of people mostly died from Covid-19 are either found floating in the river or buried in the sands of its bank. Again, putting onus on the belief of common people, the same reports, particularly one from Al Jazeera, suggest that people living close to such sites in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh bury their loved ones by the river because there is not enough space in the local crematorium or because they could not afford to buy wood to make funeral pyres. The approximate count of dead bodies as suggested in media coverage range from a few hundreds to over a thousand at the site. Barkha Dutt, an Indian journalist in her opinion piece in The Washington Times, wrote that India failed to save the living from covid-19 and now it won’t count the dead when Covid is devastating rural India with hundreds of bodies abandoned in mass shallow graves in different towns. Then she didn’t forget to take a dig at Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as “Hindu nationalist” who changed Muslim name of the district from Allahabad to Prayagraj. Her fellow journalist and another star opinion maker in the same newspaper, Rana Ayyub attacked Prime Minister Modi and other ministers with even more scathing remarks alleging that instead of working to control Covid-19, they are engaged in cover up of their incompetence.

Apparently, despite years of journalism, some are yet to learn that the Indian Prime Minister or any state Chief Minister is not expected to count the dead; instead, every Indian city, town and village maintains separate registers of birth and death to account for such details. Regarding the “Hindu nationalist” jibe, during the last millennium, Mughals and other Arab invaders systematically persecuted Hindus and indulged in destruction of the Sanatana Indian culture. A living paradox can be cited as illustration for reference: Post independence many leftist historians under the state patronage had focused chiefly on the medieval history with Abu'l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar glorified as “Akbar The Great” while at least two huge massacres of Hindus (Rajputs and non-combatant Hindus) are registered against him at Garha (Narsinghpur District in Madhya Pradesh) and Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, including immolation of about eight thousand Rajput women (Jauhar). Names of cities like Ayodhya and Prayagraj are mentioned as important cultural and religious places in ancient Hindu Epics and Puranas (historical texts) which are at least two to three millennia old but for some people have misconception about the Indian history as if began with the Islamic rule in parts of India. Now, if a cultural course correction is made, it is criticized by some as Hindu nationalism or even communalism.

Truth of Sand Graves on Ground

What really shocks is that the foreign media as also some such domestic sources have not even bothered to properly identify or check the place while reporting the shocking details of the alleged sand graves of the Covid-19 dead. The truth is that the place is neither Sangam nor another place located at the outskirts of the city. In fact, Prayagraj has two ghats at Daraganj and Rasoolabad localities for the cremation of the dead and Sangam is not repeat not allowed for the cremation purpose. Actually, the reported place is Shringaverpur, a village of historical importance, located approximately forty-five kilometres from the Prayagraj city. The village also finds a mention in the great Indian Epic Ramayana as a place where King Ram crossed the river Ganga with the assistance of Nishadraja while on way to exile for fourteen years. The place itself is named after Shringi Rishi where the excavation done by the Archaeological Survey of India in the past revealed existence of a temple dedicated to the rishi.

Shringaverpur has nearly one kilometre’s stretch on the banks of the River Ganga which is traditionally used as the cremation ghat by the Hindus and Buddhists both by cremation as well as burial. Traditionally, Ganga is considered a holy river and many families retain Ganga water at home for use in various holy rites and take the bodies of dead family members not only from Prayagraj but also from many other nearby districts such as Pratapgarh, Raebareilly, Sultanpur, Lucknow (state capital), and so on for cremation at the banks of Ganga at the aforesaid place. The Hindus and Buddhists use cremation as standard method prescribed in the Texts for the disposal of the dead bodies but in certain eventualities they are also buried or immersed in the river (flowing water). Ordinarily, burial is done in cases of the death of a child, an unmarried person and saint/sanyasi, or a person died of leprosy, white stains disease, snake-bite or certain epidemics, etc. Besides, in a multi-layered Hindu society, certain castes and traditions also opt for burial by choice. For instance, the followers of Shaiva tradition in the area too prefer burial of dead over the cremation.

Ganga is traditionally revered as the holiest river and many Hindu families consciously opt for the cremation or burial of the dead bodies at the earmarked ghats (places) near the river. However, Ganga is not the only river and similar earmarked ghats also exist near other Indian rivers for this purpose. For instance, many Hindu families in Uttar Pradesh from the districts of Barabanki, Lucknow, Sultanpur, Ayodhya, etc. take their dead for funeral at the earmarked ghats at the banks of Saryu (Ghaghra) River. When the foreign media started the current coverage on the graves of the dead linking it with Covd-19 and mismanagement by Chief Minister Yogi, some domestic news channels and newspaper reporters as also independent people too visited Sringaverpur to find out truth. One TV channel has even displayed similar images from the previous years and one such image of 2018 nearly matched with the recent footage released by Reuters. Few local people revealed that the practice of cremation and burial of the dead at this ghat is very old custom but the number of dead bodies arrived during April-May 2021 have been relatively more in number this year.

While the international media was maligning the image of India for nearly two weeks, the reporters of at least one private news channel India TV and a Hindi newspaper Dainik "Jagaran" made their independent investigations at the site and spoke to people in the nearby villages around Shringaverpur. The India TV channel observed, "In the last six years, only time has changed, the government has changed, the parties on opposite sides have changed, but the number of dead has increased. The fact is: Bodies were being immersed or buried near Ganga then, and now too". The Hindi daily ‘Jagaran’ in their ground report published pictures of bodies buried in 2018 and 2021, and the situation on the ground appears nearly similar in both footages. It's quite obvious that when the India bashers and trolls started circulating pictures of bodies on the internet linking it to Covid deaths, none of them even cared to check the place and bodies whethere they were buried now or existed for many years with few fresh arrivals of late. The practice of immersion of the dead bodies in the river is indeed bad because it causes polution rendering the water unfit for use and people need to be made aware to stop this age old practice.

It is true that the second Covid-19 wave have been severe, and administration and hospitals indeed faced many problems in management of patients and even dead for few weeks in various parts of the country. But even during this period, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, a standard Covid protocol has been followed for the disposal of the bodies on account of such deaths on state expense. For instance, the state capital Lucknow has facility of both manual cremation ghats and electric crematorium; of these, the manual ghats are currently used for the normal deaths while electric crematorium for the Covid dead, which necessitated a queue and wait too for some time. In cities and places where electric crematoria are not available, the normal dead and Covid dead are cremated separately at earmarked places. It is likely that in cities as well as villages, some people developed Flu-like symptoms and got well in few days without undergoing any treatment, In such cases, one would not know if it was due to mild Covid or seasonal Flu. But barring few exceptions or isolated cases, it is highly unlikely that any patient in a city or village would develop serious Covid symptoms, and the healthcare system on ground will not take cognizance or his family will not take him to the District hospital and other earmarked Covid care facilities.

This leaves one last eventuality of some poor families doing burial due to financial constraints rather than cremation of their family members died for whatever reason. As already mentioned earlier all known Covid-19 deaths have a standard protocol for cremation under the supervision of government authorities at the state expense. Unlike the urban centres, people in most of the rural areas in the North India (Uttar Pradesh & Bihar), still have a strong sense of fellow-feeling and community cooperation, where people (elected representatives of the Village Panchayat and neighbours) undoubtedly help each other in any crisis and tragic situation. So, taking it to conclude that poor families would fail to have wood and other minimum necessities for cremation is only a distant possibility and cookery of the imaginative minds in media. Another point that needs to be remembered is that most people carry out cremation or burial in the cremation ground earmarked in the village or on their own piece of land as per family’s convenience or tradition. Only those people who have a strong religious inclination to cremate or bury their dead on the banks of the holy river, will take their dead to the places like Shringaverpur Ghat.

Assuming a few odd cases are still left out that they do not get any assistance and cooperation from the state, community, relatives and neighbours, how far it is fair for the journalists and vulture media to anchor around the vulgar display of the bodies of dead! For sure, like if you visit a cemetery, you will see thousands of graves; same way a cremation ghat near any river would reveal only funeral pyre or graves of the dead. Now, linking it to the corona dead appears highly speculative and scandalous. River Ganga has a length of over 2,500 Km and traverses through the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal before entering Bangladesh and together with its tributaries it forms the largest basin and drainage system in India covering eleven states. Mr Narendra Modi had undertaken a major initiative “Namami Gange” to clean and develop the river and a lot of work has been done in these years to clean river and develop its banks and ghats at many places as also to completely stop draining industrial pollution in it. The system of cremation and burial among Hindus is also in vogue in respect of many other holy rivers in India. It is beyond the imagination of any sane and rational mind why the River Ganga and Indian State of Uttar Pradesh should be pick up by the media and vested interests to prove the failure of the government under Adityanath Yogi.

A Brief Review of Covid-19 Position in Indian States

Taking the footage of a cremation ghat/ground by exception and merely on account of suspicion or speculation ascribing it to Covid deaths appears highly presumptuous and a conspiracy under a well thought out stratagem by the vile media and their patrons in India and abroad. It’s obvious that such scathing remarks and constant misinformation about India’s most populous and socio-politically relevant state is not without specific reasons and well thought out plan. Here the author would also like to ask why only Uttar Pradesh is being singled out for this atrocious and fallacious reporting and targeting Yogi Adityanath when the state elections are due in the near future, while quite a few other Indian states like Maharashtra, Kerala and Delhi have fared very badly not only in terms of the number of Covid patients and dead but also as super spreaders of the coronavirus to other states both during the first and second corona waves.

It may be recalled that even the world health body WHO had lauded Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his team in November 2020 citing that the UP government's strategic response to COVID-19 by stepping up contact tracing efforts is exemplary and can serve as a good example for other Indian states to follow. Recently in May 2021 again, the WHO has lauded the Uttar Pradesh model of door-to-door Covid surveillance on its website and social media pages saying that the state is going to the last mile to stop COVID. In an article dated 7 May 2021 on its website under the heading “UTTAR PRADESH Going the last mile to stop COVID-19”, the WHO wrote how the Uttar Pradesh state government has initiated house-to-house active case finding of COVID-19 in rural areas to contain transmission by testing people with symptoms for rapid isolation, disease management and contact tracing. The same is further elaborated in a series of WHO tweets on 10 May 2020 readily available on the social media. (https://www.who.int/india/news/feature-stories/detail/uttar-pradesh-going-the-last-mile-to-stop-covid-19)

According to the WHO field officers’ report, the state government of Uttar Pradesh has deployed 141,610 teams and 21,242 supervisors from the state health department to ensure all rural areas are covered. Each monitoring team has two members, who visit homes in villages and remote hamlets to test everyone with symptoms of COVID-19 using Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) kits. Those who test positive are isolated and given a medicine kit with advice on disease management. All the contacts of those who test positive are also quarantined and tested at home by a rapid response team. According to the WHO report, this exercise was started from 5 May and on the inaugural day itself WHO field officers monitored over 2,000 government teams and visited at least 10,000 households. Besides, the Primary and Community Health Centres in each Block within a district have already been engaged with routine sample collection, testing and treatment of people with symptoms in the rural areas.

Rather than simply relying on the WHO report, when this author test checked with some health workers and reliable contacts in rural areas of Lucknow (state capital) and adjoining Barabanki districts, he found that the aforesaid things are actually happening in villages and teams are proactively visiting and attending rural folk in need. Of course, the health workers also mentioned that some villagers are not volunteering to appear before the visiting healthcare team and have apprehensions about the government initiative. Evidently, even in cities a section of population still tends to avoid Covid protocols and vaccination due misinformation inculcated by their political and religious mentors. But then for the media vultures and India haters these developments do not matter owing to their continued prejudice and plot in hand. Like the author said earlier that the position of Covid patients in some of the Indian states is indeed bad but even a casual reference to their plight is not made by the biased journalists and media in their lopsided reporting and hit and run tactics. India is comprised of a total of thirty-six Indian states and union territories and current position of the first ten most affected by Covid-19 pandemic is summarised in the table below:

Rank State Population* Total Cases Total Deaths Active Cases
 1, Maharashtra 123.00 5,672,180 92,225 301,041
 2. Karnataka   69.60 2,523,998 27,405 402,203
 3. Kerala   34.70 2,448,555   8,064 241,972
 4. Tamil Nadu   82.70 1,978,621 22,289 313,048
 5. Uttar Pr 231.50 1,683,862 19,899   58,267
 6. Andhra Pr   91.70 1,643,557 10,531 186,782
 7. Delhi   30.29 1,422,549 23,812   16,378
 8. W. Bengal   99.60 1,331,249 14,975 117,154
 9. Chhattisgarh   30.10    962,368 12,848   49,420
10. Rajasthan   81.00    932,200   8,103   71,099

Pr = Pradesh; * Estimated Population in 2020 (in Million)

Of the ten states listed above, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh are ruled by the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) while remaining eight are ruled by the Congress and other opposition parties. As can be seen from the table, Maharashtra has fared the worst both during the first as well as second corona wave both in total cases and deaths. The state is ruled by a coalition of three parties with diagonally opposite ideology and agenda, who for all their internal tussle, inadequacies and mismanagement constantly blame Modi led Central Government. Till some time back, a small state Kerala with less than 35 million people ruled by the Marxist government was occupying second slot following Maharashtra in terms of total number of Covid patients and daily reported fresh cases but now Karnataka has overtaken it with a small margin. However, if virus surge in the state is evaluated in the ratio of population, it would perhaps be graded even worse than Maharashtra but the leftist media has often lauded the state and its health minister for a better management in the past. Another mystifying factor is the number of reported deaths which are surprisingly very low (0.33%) compared to other states and the national mortality rate of about 1.15%, but none in the media have ever questioned the number.

Uttar Pradesh has the largest population among the Indian states, and nearly two times greater than Maharashtra. If we compare the two states, we find Maharashtra outnumbers Uttar Pradesh over three times in term of the number of total corona positive cases, nearly five times in death count and about six times in still active cases. Currently, about 3.5 lakh Covid tests are daily conducted in Uttar Pradesh but the daily reported new cases have come down in the range of 2,000 to 2,500 that constitutes about 1.4% of the total national occurrences. Six states namely Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal constitute about 72% of new Covid patients, while the remaining 30 states, including Uttar Pradesh, and union territories together account for the remaining 28% patients. These are hard ground facts that biased media and opposition continue to ignore rejecting the official data and information as trash, including the opinion of the world health body, and instead they rely on own invented data and information by exceptions and speculation.

In the foregoing paragraph, the author used the term “super spreader” for some states in the context of the coronavirus surge particularly in rural areas. It may be recalled that during the first corona wave, the disease was largely contained mainly in the urban centres that too relatively in larger cities during the initial months of 2020. India is a developing country and a large number of labourers from rural areas of densely populated northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar work in the metropolitan cities like Delhi and Mumbai as also in agricultural farms of Punjab. The Indian Prime Minister had made an earnest appeal to the state governments of Delhi, Maharashtra and Punjab to make sure that the labourers are not dislodged or pressurized for rental and other charges etc. during the lockdown. It’s a different pathetic story and gory details what all happened but the crux of matter is that the message was not received well by these opposition ruled states leading to a large-scale exodus of labourers during mid of corona crisis and many of them later became a potential source of infection in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

By mid-February 2021, incidence of the daily number of new Covid-19 cases during the first wave had reached to a low between eight to nine thousand, of which nearly two-third cases were from the two states of Maharashtra and Kerala. Considering population and size of the country, this was a small number generating optimism and hope that the life in the country would soon return to normal. At a time when the two states needed maximum precautions and efforts with mandatory social distancing and travel restrictions, Kerala remained in a careless and combative mode to Centre's call while Maharashtra concentrated on the political bickerings that precipitated in the removal of the Mumbai police commissioiner, compromised the state police chief and resignation of the state home minister on corruption charges. When the number of new corona cases started showing upward trend, the majority of such cases were still owing to these two states. But during the second fortnight of March, new cases started showing a phenomenal rise in these states and very soon the second wave ransacked all other Indian states and territories. One wonders why the investigative journalists writing for the foreign media fail to notice or acknowledge all these facts, while selectively picking up only Uttar Pradesh and its Chief Minister.

Possible Reasons for the Media Vulture Act

This week on 25 May 2021, The New York Times has published their estimated Covid cases and death toll in India under three possible scenarios; a conservative scenario, a more likely scenario, and a worse scenario. According to the conservative estimates, the total number of cases on date could be 404.2 million and deaths 600,000 while a more likely chances are 539.0 million total cases with 1.6 million deaths. Then they also visualize a worse-case scenario, where the total number of Covid patients could be 700.7 million and total deaths 4.2 million. Obviously, the paper seems to be more concerned for the Indians trashing the corresponding official figures while ignoring own countrymen where the official death toll is double the Indian figures and active cases too more than 2.5 times that of India despite the total population being only about one-fourth of the latter. Report is stated to have been prepared by experts and few Indians contacted who reportedly said that they were all terrified and burnt out.

Now the point is what are the reasons for the US newspaper group for such a presumptuous and preposterous reporting on such a sensitive and humane issue, when they so often lack even minimum credible information about India and have misreported about the country so often nearly on every crucial occasion in recent years. Some Indian TV channels such as NDTV Network and e-news magazines like The Wire remain highly critical about the BJP led Central Government but even they have never stooped so low in their reporting in falsifying data and presenting preposterous report. Certain US newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Times as also many more in US and other countries mostly publish reports full of negative coverage about India for the last 6-7 years. The media groups in US and other Western countries are usually graded as liberal or conservative while PEW Research Centre, based on a survey carried out in April 2014, places many news media groups including the aforesaid two US papers as pursuing the leftist ideology as proclaimed liberals.

Evidently, it is a bipolar world, and the electronic and print media in the modern age is no more independent, unbiased or neutral. This also explains why the media representing the liberal or left ideology worldwide, more particularly in US, has constantly attacked Modi government in India so often addressing it as “the Hindu Nationalist Government” with implied contempt and aversion. As the world nations are panting under the load of their dead, ruined economy and loss of employment due to corona carnage, more voices too are being raised about the dubious role and evil design of the People’s Republic of China in the coronavirus release and spread. But the aforesaid mainstream media, with so many alleged investigative journalists and opinion makers on their panel and payroll, have seldom criticized China or produced any meaningful report about the role of the communist country. Their double standard is also visible when they spare own government and people about the Covid mismangement but constantly target other democratic countries like India and Brazil with their so often obnoxious and preposterous reporting.

This is no more a secret that China is pumping millions into the foreign media outlets annually to create a new world order favourable to them through China Global Television Network (CGTN) and other state-controlled media/agencies. Besides, much of the major US media is arguably controlled by the entertainment-media corporations and it’s the entertainment sector that gives the Chinese Communist Party sufficient leverage. To learn about media’s vulnerabilities, one needs to learn who owns what because it ultimately determines the opinion building. For instance, reportedly the US NBC News, CNBC, and MSNBC are owned by Comcast that also owns Universal Pictures, a minority partner to five Chinese state-owned companies in the Universal Beijing. Similarly, the ABC News is owned by the Walt Disney Company that also owns Walt Disney Studios and is partner with the Shanghai Disney Resort, where it’s about 43% partner to three Chinese companies controlled by the Shanghai city government. There are credible reports in public domain that many mainstream US media groups including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal have received millions during the last few years in the name of advertisement from The China Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party. These illustrations may perhaps be only a tip of the iceburg.

The aforesaid is perhaps suffice to suggest why the American media has not been so aggressive unlike the US government during the current pandemic about the role of Beijing; instead, in a way they have cooperated by repeating uncritically Beijing’s reports that it bears no responsibility for the spread of Covid-19. In turn, the CGTN and other Chinese state-controlled media have used the US media reporting as part of its internal propaganda campaign too. During the recent years, the US government has taken some action to reduce China’s influence over the information by asking the major Chinese state agencies like Xinhua and CGTN to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) but, clearly, such measures have not been effective enough so far. The Chinese grip on the Western media, scientific and educational institutions and said liberals have increasingly widened over the years that also explains why while the US, UK and many European Union (EU) governments have wholeheartedly come forward to assist India in a joint fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, their mainstream media with liberal or left credentials is leaving no stone unturned to embarrass this country and its leadership.

Needless to mention, the communist nation currently looks at only two countries as its arch rivals and potential enemies. Of course, one is US with its current development, economic wealth and military might an undisputed superpower and number one country in the world. China has systematically and diligently worked for decades with an objective to dislodge it taking number one place on the world map without military confrontation though simultaneously preparing for it. The other is India which lags behind China vis-a-vis several growth indicators but has a potential to match it in future due its growing economic and military strength under the present committed leadership. Therefore, it is not surprising that China and other leftist or left-leaning institutions, including media, world over are seen pitted against the interests of the two countries. There is yet another reason: We often condemn yellow journalism but the sensation and virtuosity it is able to generate, is very enticing that attracts mass curiosity and readership/viewership, and in turn the business for the corporate group.

Postlude

The outrageous reporting by the media in the Indian context, particularly about the number of Covid patients and dead count by the particular US newspaper, reminds the author his recent interaction with an acquaintance, a retired member of one of the Indian elite civil services. The gentleman has serious grudge, like a few Indian journalists currently contributing to American papers have with Prime Minister Modi and the government led by him on personal considerations. However, his grudge and aversion is so strong that he finds everything wrong even with the nation and its institutions in his obsession to oppose Modi and his government. So, in a dialogue, while he was engaged in finding faults with Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, the author mildly reminded him about the current nemesis of the Indian states of Maharashtra and Kerala. His obdurate reaction was “International media is balanced. They are reporting from ground quite reasonably. Still not criticising…ICMR/AIIMS is joke.” Precisely, this is the attitude and approach of some journalists in reporting about India these days. (Here ICMR and AIIMS are Indian Council of Medical Research and All India Institute of Medical Science, respectively)

Apparently, the US and other Western (entertainment) media corporations have private sector collaborators in China but de facto there is nothing like private property in the communist country. Each such entity or corporation is like a custodian of assets in its name as long as the state (government) is favourable towards it. This could be learned through the nemesis of business tycoon Jack Ma and his $35 billion IPO in Alibaba Group after he chose to criticise China’s financial regulators few months back; should the American corporates succumbing to Chinese investors also learn few lessons from the episode. Then some time back, this author came across an image of a cemetery in US with caption “Cemetery of the Innocent: 4000 babies aborted every day in the USA. Pray for them.” Even during the current pandemic, many bizarre images of cemeteries with Covid dead in US and other countries are floating on the internet. Does this also shock the foreign media and compel them to rationally think about the plight of dead universally rather than merely treating them as numbers? If so, unlike communist and autocratic regimes, none else would ever chasten them in the democratic world and they should suo moto restrain self to stop playing dirty politics on dead bodies by roaming around the graves at the Indian cremation ghats.

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29-May-2021
More by :  Dr. Jaipal Singh
 
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