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Opinion

Reporting inside An ICU, Journalism Takes A Nose Dive

While studying in Kota (Rajasthan), I once encountered an incident in a city shopping mall that left a lifelong imprint on my mind. A specially-abled person was trying to get out of an elevator. It was a compartment loaded with around eight-nine persons going towards the ground floor. Carrying a black folding cane in his left hand, the man, probably in his 40s, was set up to get out.  I was standing on the adjacent right-hand side to that man, noticing every detail of how he maneuvers normal routine chores at such ease. As soon as the lift would approach the concourse, a gentleman standing behind offered him a helping hand. The elevator hit the ground, people behind pushed us, the crowd waiting outside tried to forcibly get in even before the lift was not vacated and the guy with the cane fell on the ground. It left the man, who was helping the specially-abled guy, red-faced. He abused the culprits and reprimanded them saying, “Andhe ho kya? (Are you blind?)”. I tried to rescue the guy but he refused another help this time. He stood up and gently told the man who abused with a smile, “Isse achha aap meri madad hi naheen karte (Better if you won’t have helped)”. That moment a visually impaired man while settling his black cane had taught all of us the lesson of sensitivity for life.

A well-known anchor of Aaj Tak channel, Anjana Om Kashyap, visited the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) affected children at Sri Krishna Medical College Hospital at Muzaffarpur, Bihar, on Tuesday, after 17 days and 129 deaths. She assumed that she was on a noble cause for the unheard, marginalized and malnourished children of Bihar but unfortunately it was more of an ‘AES Tourism’. She created ruckus inside the ICU. As she did the piece to camera inside an ‘Intensive Care Unit’ (ICU) of the hospital, journalism took a deep plunge down exposing her fundamentals of journalism and sensitivity.

Stupid Journalism in the race of TRP 

Tied or covered hair of nurses/doctors, no sleepers/shoes/sandals and cacophony are the foremost essentials and protocols followed in an ICU anywhere in this world. Contrary to all these medical ethics and practices, anchor Anjana Om Kashyap entered an ICU equipped with hundreds of AES affected children and reported right in the middle of it. Her untied hair she kept parting sometimes, a giant microphone with tons of emitting radiations and germs, probably wearing a pair of flip-flops or pair of sandals and shouting her lungs out in front of the ailing children, she left no stone unturned to certifying her irresponsible and stupid journalism in the race of TRP. She didn’t care about the hygiene of the ailing children.

Doctors/Sisters cannot be made scapegoat

In an utter bizarre, insensitive and outrageous manner, she placed the microphone right above an ailing child and asked the doctors why they were not attending to the patients. Moreover, defying all humanitarian’s quotient and journalism’s ethics, she obstructed the path of a doctor (Krishna Kumar Das, a Pediatrician at SKMCH), held the stretcher and confronted him. For what? For doing his job? What is the fault of the doctors and nurses? They are working relentlessly without having a proper meal and nap.

The ratio of patients and doctors is 100:1. Are they responsible for this mismanagement? No. The onus lies on the state and hospital machinery to keep a check on the facilities inside a hospital.

Why Not confront Higher Authorities?

What to say! It’s like cursing the commentators and smashing a TV set after India loses a match against Pakistan. It is like threatening a postmaster for delivering a court notice at my home address. Similarly, it is deplorable to confront and reprimand the doctors and nurses at SKMCH. They look overburdened with the quantum of work pressure they are trying to cope up with. Stressed and confused, the doctors kept answering Anjana’s question with great pious and calm. They have no locus standi to answer such questions.  

Anjana made a very smart move as she visited the hospital after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s departure from SKMCH. She didn’t even care to confront the health minister Bihar (Mangal Pandey) and Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare (Ashwini K Choubey), either. Dare she could ask questions to Union Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan. She picked up the easiest and innocent target as doctors and nurses. 

Anjana’s brainless reporting has exposed the deteriorating level of TV journalism in this age of TRP and competitiveness. She harassed the doctors and interrupted their practices which are considered felony under Indian Penal Code. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) must ask the channel for an apology and take strict action against the channel and the anchor. She jeopardized the health and lives of hundreds of children fighting for life at SKMCH, Muzaffarpur.

If it journalism then I suggest she must do a crash course in journalism from a good college, but, before that, she desperately needs to sit with some of the senior journalists of Aaj Tak and learn lessons on sensitivity, there are plenty.      

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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