Saturday, October 03, 2009

The media in 'emergency' mode

There was a time one month back when there was not a news bulletin on the Indian TV channels which did not mention swine flu. It was at a time when the cases worldwide had plateaued. Let us put the whole issue into perspective.

6050 people have been affected with the swine flu in India out of which 173 died (as of 13 September 2009). Most of the people who have been infected are ones who either had been abroad or had been in contact with someone who had been abroad. In simply words, it was predominantly among the more affluent. And that is exactly the reason it managed to get such a proportion of prime time coverage in the media. The media houses catering to this stratum of the society went into ‘emergency’ mode.

I would have been happy with the media’s vociferous take on swine flu if they had not been turning a blind eye to the Indians dying every minute due to TB or to the 1250 Indians dying daily because of diarrhea-related diseases, both of which are very much curable. The media do not see such ‘uninteresting’ statistics.