By Abubakar N. Kasim
The role of media has long been recognized as critical and powerful force shaping how we experience and see the world. I am however, disappointed by the media’s performance towards the coronavirus pandemic. I have not expected them to act as cheerleaders.
Journalists have been covering the Coronavirus news as sporting events, beauty pageants or wrestling match with the emphasis on winning rates.
I was anticipating to see the media holding authorities to account by asking tough questions trying to determine the origin of this disease; the role played by the WHO and its relationship with China and what took them so long to warn the world about the outbreak and who knew what and when.
There are a lot of questions surrounding this mysterious and always evolving pandemic. This is not the time to go after viewership and rates in trying to compete in proclaiming how many people have lost their lives. It is people’s lives we are talking about and not fashion show. Unfortunately and sadly the media has failed and failed miserably to act with a level of integrity in holding authorities to account.
It has played the same game as it did during the gulf war when US and its British ally invaded Iraq by the pretext of looking for weapons of mass destruction. The media joined the wagon in reporting as enthusiastic cheerleaders whose aim is to impress their boyfriends.
Since the media has not dealt with the issue seriously and left people in darkness and confused, other voices including conspiracy theorists have jumped to the occasion to fill in the massive void left by the media. And that is why such voices are gaining humongous success. Media ought to wake up before it is too late and before it loses its credibility. It should start looking at the issue at different angles.
I don’t take what conspiracy theorist present at phase value. Everyone has an agenda to serve especially in the US where there is political tension. Each group exaggerates things to win recruits by portraying themselves as saviors and the other side as villain and enemy of the people. We need to look into things with critical minds and don’t allow to be put on leash. Having said that however the conspiracies do indeed raise valid points in trying to join the dots and asking what is really going on. Are we being lied to? Are we being put on a tight leash?
What makes people tune in to alternative news on the pandemic is the suspicion surrounding the pandemic including the prediction made by Hollywood films which depicts the current crisis. Did someone somewhere had prior knowledge in advanced? Also former presidents have also warned about pandemic. All this make you think, ask questions and try to read between lines.
As the media has lost its integrity during the Iraq war and failed again to ask tough questions during the aftermath of Sept 11attacks, it is doing exactly the same during the time of confusion we are in. And that is why I, and million other people alike are turning off the six o’clock news and trying to find alternative prospective on the issue.
People’s lives are at stake. Our very lives are in danger. We cannot afford to lose innocent lives and only be obsessed on ratings. People around the world are paying huge price as a result of their government’s iron fist approach.
Abubakar N. Kasim
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