How reliable is the Western Media Coverage of India’s Covid19 surge?

| Swara Murthy
  • Most of the news posts of international media houses only target either the Prime Minister or BJP
  • No other substance is covered in these articles other than attacking the government
  • The highest number of cases have so far been counted from those states which are not ruled by BJP
  • Pandemic showed how the state governments struggled to uphold their constitutional responsibility of public health management
  • The Covid cases and death rates in Europe and North America are sizeably larger than India given its population
  • India has donated or exported over 66 million doses of Covid vaccines. Will the global media acknowledge this fact?
  • Hope these factors act as a guide for global media to ensure appropriate news reporting.

World is watching India’s Covid surge through the lens of international media houses which has the intention of only attacking the Prime Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Most of the news posts only target either the Prime Minister or BJP. No other substance is covered in these articles other than attacking the government for not having controlled the outbreak of the Chinese Virus in India.

Now let’s help the global media on how and what factors it has to ascertain to avoid reaching a deluded conclusion as stated above.

Political structure

India has a quasi-federal structure where powers are equally distributed between the center and states. With this clear bifurcation between the roles of the center and the state as per the Constitution of India, Public Health is in the State list (refer to List II in the Seventh Schedule of Constitution of India).

However, the Chinese Covid19 Virus pandemic showed how the state governments have struggled to uphold their constitutional responsibility of public health management due to budgetary, institutional, and capacity constraints.

The highest number of cases have so far been counted from those states which are not ruled by BJP. This Covid19 outbreak has revealed how over-dependent states are on the central government for technical expertise and financial support. Does global media have the tenacity or intensity to research the depth of the issue? Does it know that despite public health being a state subject, the central government is the key actor in designing health policies and programs?

Population

Even despite researching these factors, all that the global media could have done was to compare the population between different countries in the world and check with the number of Covid cases from such other countries. The below table clearly shows that there is a larger conspiracy by the global media to act against India.

India being the worst affected country by Covid is false. Italy, France, Germany, and the USA all though not having a sizeable population like India still had a larger proportion of Covid cases and death rates. The Covid cases and death rates in Europe and North America are sizeably larger for the said continents given population.

Look at the below table carefully. Both continents, Europe and North America put together the population in 87 countries within them are about 1,34,09,21,534, were owing to the efforts of Eighty-Seven (87) Prime Ministers the number of Covid cases has reached 8,27,06,872 while the deaths are 18,71,662.

Now looking at India, a country with a population of 1,39,11,97,718, has total Covid cases of 2,10,77,410 and total deaths of 2,30,168 (as on May 6). The government has taken the best steps to resolve the Covid crisis in the country through strict laws, lockdown, curfew, etc. Though the economy and common people were affected due to such lockdowns, several arrangements were made to make sure food supplies and other essentials were made available.

India – World’s No.1 vaccine maker

Given this background, India even started exporting vaccines to several countries. In fact, 92 countries have approached India to supply vaccines. India has donated or exported over 66 million doses of covid vaccines, this was before its own needs jumped because of the surge in infections.

  1. Business Standard had reported on 21st January 2021 – 92 countries approach vaccine giant India for locally made Covid-19 shots’ (Source: link)
  2. CNBC had reported on 5th May 2021 – ‘India is the home of the world’s biggest producer of Covid vaccines. But it’s facing a major internal shortage’. (Source: link)
  3. Hindustan Times on YouTube – ‘Only India can satisfy world’s demand for Covid-19 vaccines: Australian Envoy’.

He says that India can satisfy the world’s demand for Covid-19 vaccines. His comments come after the Indian government took foreign diplomats to vaccine labs for briefing. He said, “There are many vaccines being produced in countries around the world. But there’s only one country that has the manufacturing capacity to produce sufficient quantities to satisfy the demand of citizens in every country. And that’s India. This is another example of the moment in which India will shine, because of the strength of this sector and the planning that has gone in. I suppose that’s not unexpected from a country that itself has suffered so many pandemics in the past (Video Source: link)

Vaccine situation around the world

Many countries continue to suffer from the Chinese origin Covid19 pandemic, and more so on account of the shortage of vaccine supplies. India had supplied 66 million doses of vaccine already to the world, which has reduced the burden of some countries to some extent.

Will the global media acknowledge this fact? While, this being the scenario, countries like Canada, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Italy continues to struggle with the short supply of vaccines.

Looks like the global media woke up from a deep slumber, having the least knowledge of India’s huge population and positive steps the Indian government and the health workers have taken to get the health infrastructure running by ensuring beds, ventilators, etc which are being resourcefully made available to the needy.

I hope henceforth these factors act as a guide for global media to ensure appropriate news reporting.

(The views expressed are authors own)

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