As Nepal picks up the pieces and gauges the extent of damage in the aftermath of last month’s devastating earthquake thatkilled over 7,000 people and injured more than 14,000, some have found the relentless coverage by the Indian mediafar from perfect. On World Press Freedom Day, #GoHomeIndianMedia was a top trend, criticising the Indian media’s “insensitive” reporting from its neighbouring state.
While grateful for the aid and help in rescue efforts, some sections of the media were called out for pitching the tragedy as a PR exercise for the Indian government. In a blogpublished on CNN, Sunita Shakya of Nepali origin writes, “Your media and media personnel are acting like they are shooting some kind of family serials.” She also goes on to describe a couple of instances where she says the reporter did not do enough to help the injured person in need. “Thanks to tons of reporters who came to Nepal from those rescue planes of India, you took a seat where a victim could be transported to hospitals/ health camps. Thanks to you all reporters, you took a seat where a bag of food and supplies could be placed to send to those hardly hit places,” she adds.
However, some have also pointed out that the Indian media’s spotlight on the calamity actually helped drive global aid and rescue efforts.
The criticism has once again put the spotlight on the do’s and don’ts of reporting during natural disasters and calamities and started a fresh debate about whether journalists should do more than just capture the scenario and interview people after gaining access to critical areas during a disaster.