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As international media turns into vultures, MEA tells diplomats to not get overpowered by negativity

While at the beginning of the pandemic, India stepped up and helped the world by exporting essential medicines like Hydroxychloroquine and vaccines under Vaccine Maitri, the world media has turned vulture as India battles its deadly second wave of the pandemic. The External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, reportedly has asked diplomats to not get bogged down by negative reports in international media about India and COVID-19 and take charge.

According to a report in Indian Express, S Jaishankar has told diplomats to counter the one-sided narrative that the international media has been peddling about India’s “failure” to handle the pandemic.

While maximum of the time during the interaction was spent talking about the logistics to mobilise resources from the rest of the world to fight the second wave of the pandemic, one of the subjects that had come up was how to counter the biased narrative in the international media. Jaishankar also reportedly told the diplomats to take charge and counter the narrative instead of getting bogged down by it.

Amidst a surging Coronavirus wave, India has become the centre of attention for media all around the world. This has led to wider coverage of India in the worldwide press, focusing on the imagery of the customary Hindu funeral pyre as a way to “shock” their non-Indian audience and spreading panic and fear. After controversial journalist Barkha Dutt was seen reporting from crematoriums, now photographs of tragic funeral pyres, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, have now become valuable commodities, bought and sold in the Western press.

The British-American media company Getty Images now hosts multiple images depicting multiple Indian funeral pyres lit ablaze on their website. From here, any potential media group around the world can buy these images, in three different sizes, with the largest size priced at about Rs. 23,000. In fact, most of the large versions of the images are priced at Rs. 23,000.

We had recently reported how Reuters had posted 6 articles and 7 pictures of funeral pyres from India in a span of just 2 days, all, on their home page.

It is pertinent to note that while most international media platforms, like New York Times, New York Post (that recently spread fake news about India and COVID), Al Jazeera, Washington Post and several other media outlets indulge in vulturism, fear-mongering and spreading fake news about India in the time of need, Indian media was rather circumspect and supporting when last year, the USA went through its worse peak.

In April 2020, New York was facing its worse bout of the Wuhan Coronavirus. Body bags in the hundreds were being pulled out like trash out of the homes of people who died because of Coronavirus, without even getting a chance to get tested.


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