Invasive Journalism: Even The ICUs Aren’t Off-Limit
The medical fraternity of India hasn’t been in news like it is today ever, and for all the wrong reasons possible. While the debate over mistreatment of doctors at the hands of a patient’s relatives in West Bengal and the ensuing strike is still in focus, the news of death of more than hundred childrenin Bihar due to encephalitis has pointed out at the decrepit state of medical facilities and the apathy of those who could make decisions which could make it more convenient for both the doctors and the patients to deal with such break outs. Shouldn’t we be asking questions to politicians and government officials as to why were the encephalitis breakout managed so callously? But instead, a celebrity reporter from a major news channel in India barged into an ICU, armed with a camera and mic and shoved it in the faces of the medical staff “demanding” answers.
- To shed light on the death of 108 children due to encephalitis, a news reporter barged into an ICU.
- Instead of asking pointed questions to ministers and officials, she interfered with the work of the hospital staff.
- She also showed complete disregard for hygiene and sanitation of a critical unit ward.
- All the questions this journalist has been asking are right, but she is doing so to the wrong people.
Did the said reporter and her crew take any measures to ensure that she didn’t carry any germs into an Intensive Care Unit?
One wonders if invasive journalism in India, the kind which is both apathetic and oblivious in assessing the gravity of the situation, is deliberate or plain ignorant. Are our news channels so hungry for TRP, that they are willing to show complete disregard to maintenance of hygiene and sanitation around little kids struggling for their life? Did the said reporter and her crew take any measures to ensure that she didn’t carry any germs into an Intensive Care Unit? How did it not cross her mind that in meddling around in such critical ward, she was infact impeding the work done by doctors and the staff? Above everything else, why did she place the accountability of the encephalitis deaths on the most convenient of all victims- the doctors? Why wasn’t she asking pointed questions to ministers etc?
We live in times when accountability needs to be where it essentially belongs, if we want to see some solid positive changes in the country. The spotlight should be on the decrepit state of the healthcare infrastructure of this country. We need to be asking the governments, and ourselves why do we rush to expensive private hospitals even in case of minor emergencies? Who is responsible if we don’t even want to avail government facilities for manageable health scares, let alone something as grave as encephalitis, Do you go to your nearest government hospitalif your kid has high fever? Or if you have a fracture? Or if you just need a general check up?
The said reporter has countered the criticism coming her way alleging that it was, is and will be necessary to bring forth the mismanagement and apathy in hospitals. The woman is indeed right. 108 children have died so far, and we must know why? But pointing mics at overworked doctors, berating them for agendas, which are clearly not theirs to solve, isn’t the way forward. Journalism is not just about asking the right questions, but asking them to the right people as well. Even a layman like me understands that, but do our professional journalists?
Image: Photo is representative
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.