Psychiatrists emphasise on balanced reporting of news related to the Pandemic

On Wednesday, a group of psychiatrists released a letter requesting the media to restraint the coverage of news related to the Coronavirus pandemic. The group urged that reporting must be done without compromising on the facts but reports of shortage of oxygen/ medicines, clips of dead bodies etc. can have an adverse impact on people psychologically. “We are sure that reporting on sensitive issues, especially during this time of difficulty is not easy, even for journalists. If the news you are reporting affects you so much, then imagine the impact it has on the people who are watching. Imagine someone has just tested positive for COVID-19. If they have witnessed the panic-inducing coverage from cremation grounds, it keeps weighing on their minds and that of their loved ones. The fact that a huge number of people who are infected by COVID-19 recover becomes immaterial. Only images and emotions stay with them,” the letter said. They added that “Yet again, we are not saying that facts should not be reported. We are saying that hysteria and panic-inducing coverage should be avoided. Apart from harming people’s mental health such reportage also has other consequences.” They mentioned that reporting the shortage of a commodity is right so action can be taken regarding it, but it is important to specify the exact location so that it doesn’t seem like a universal shortage. The psychiatrists emphasised how such reports will also lead to panic and people hoarding the commodities that are having a shortage.

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