So-called freedom never an excuse for loss of humanity
By Che Bin
Spanish writer Lola Beccaria who has been living in Shanghai for three years recently published an article on Spanish newspaper El País to show support for China’s efforts to combat the novel coronavirus epidemic.
She said that the Chinese are humorous, lively and friendly, and they remain unchanged in the epidemic. The Spanish writer saw the persistence of cities, as well as the conviction, equanimity and orderliness of the people. Everything the Chinese do is to defeat the epidemic, she wrote.
However, what’s in stark contrast to this is the arrogance and prejudice of some western media which totally ignored the appeal of the World Health Organization (WHO), national leaders and other voices of justice in the international society to oppose stigma and discrimination. Such practice exactly exposed their unwisdom and viciousness, and will never be supported by the public.
Those who go against justice and morality will only receive condemnation. An article recently published by the Wall Street Journal that fans racial discrimination was refuted and opposed by its subscribers. Over 100,000 people have signed on the petitioning system of the White House to request apologies to the Chinese communities and a retitling or removal of the report.
German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel also triggered anger of the masses for the headline splashed across the magazine’s current cover that associates the novel coronavirus with “made in China.” Such practice was described as shameful by German internet users.
French newspaper Courrier Picard used “yellow peril” to report the epidemic, and was refuted by the French daily Le Figaro who said the practice was blatant racial discrimination against Asians in disguise of humor.
After Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten printed a cartoon insulting the Chinese national flag, a city councilor of Odense, Denmark pointed out that the media outlet should apologize as it is not a question of free speech, but humanity.
The New York Times jumped to a conclusion that the epidemic might develop to a pandemic. However, the WHO immediately refuted it with authoritativeness that the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is not a pandemic.
Media is an important tool to disseminate social information in the modern society, and a major channel for the public to learn the truths of news events. An article of the Time magazine recently compared the news coverage of the novel coronavirus in 2020 to that of Ebola in 2018, and found that the coverage of the 2019-nCoV had been unusually heavy.
“It seems to me that the coronavirus is being covered in more sensationalistic terms than Ebola in 2018,” said Steven Miller, a professor at the Rutgers School of Journalism and Media Studies.
What people should stay alert to is the “common practices” of certain western media to exaggerate fear and fan up social discrimination. The reason for such phenomenon is their inability to keep pace with time, as well as the “civilization privileges” and “zero-sum games” that crammed their brains.
Ignoring the efforts and achievements made by the Chinese people in combating the epidemic, stigmatizing China with racism, and impeding the efforts of the international society by creating panic, these media outlets have lost their sense for basic moral and social responsibility.
Besides, humanity is also absent in their indifferent and ugly reports which turn a totally blind eye to the death of the unfortunate and the forces of justice that are still fighting the virus to protect lives.
The notorious Wall Street Journal article kept saying that “the 21st century has been an age of black swans”, but it failed to understand the true intention of Nassim Nicholas Taleb who invented the term. In Taleb’s book Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life, he called on the world to share responsibilities in a bid to cope with uncertainties in reality, which is exactly a practical warning for the current time.
It’s important that media shall never chase for the so-called “freedom” and lose their humanity when human beings are impacted by uncertainties such as virus attacks. What is the meaning for the existence of media if it arbitrarily escapes responsibility and morality? That is something that some western media should think.