The COVID-19 pandemic is a war between human beings and the virus. At this special moment when countries must fight together for a shared future, the media is not only a disseminator of information, but also a major participant.
It’s difficult to distinguish between fiction and facts in an information-overloaded world. Based on lessons learned from history, the World Health Organization (WHO) has emphasized the importance of offering accurate information to the people around the world since the onset of the outbreak, pointing out that it’s crucial to fight epidemic-related rumors and false information.
The WHO suggested stopping the spread of false information about COVID-19 by tracking misinformation in multiple languages. The organization’s infodemic management team is working hand in glove with its communications department to deliver information to a broader public audience. The UN health body is also engaging with search engines and social media companies, asking them to filter out false information and promote truth.
As a matter of fact, the pandemic is a big test for global media, as it reflects media outlets’practices and sense of justice.
The media should faithfully record history and respect facts in news reporting. Truth is basic for news. At this crucial moment, media practitioners must work in a down-to-earth way, learn the real situations, and report the truth in the most accurate, objective and comprehensive manner.
Unfortunately, some irresponsible Western media outlets spread and even fabricated rumors, which undermined international cooperation to fight the virus.
China’s incredible sacrifice in fighting COVID-19 has made huge contribution to the world, winning high recognition from the international community. It’s of great significance to provide objective and accurate coverage of Chinese anti-epidemic achievements when rumors abound. The media should be aware that when they share China’s successful anti-epidemic experiences with the world, they are injecting positive energy into protecting the lives and health of the people across the world.
The media should uphold the common values of mankind and see to it that the limits of civilization shall never be tested in news reporting. “In this situation sometimes, it’s easy to move into perspectives in which there tends to be discrimination; there tends to be violation of human rights; there tends to be stigma on innocent people just because of their ethnicity or whatever. I think it’s very important to avoid this,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, some Western politicians and media have deliberately spread racially discriminatory messages, which is one of the main reasons for the language and physical violence against Asians.
COVID-19-related stigmatization is a racist act against a country and all its people, and it is a hate crime, said Mushahid Hussain Syed, the chairman of the Pakistani Senate’s standing committee on foreign affairs, adding that such behaviors are also uncivilized, and go against diplomatic norms and international law.
All responsible media in the world should conscientiously resist stigmatization and stand by justice. Under the current circumstances, the media plays a vital role in reassuring the people, Bieito Rubido Ramonde, director of Spanish newspaper ABC, emphasized in his letter to the People’s Daily.
Besides, the media should also fully reflect the general trend of the world’s future becoming increasingly interconnected, and inject positive energy into the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
As COVID-19 continues to sweep the world, the international community should work together to overcome the difficulties and defeat the virus. Similarly, the media should also enhance cooperation to assist in the world’s COVID-19 fight and contribute to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of mankind.
The Belt and Road News Network (BRNN) issued an open letter to its alliance members of 205 media outlets from 98 countries around the world, calling on them to give the message of unity and support to the public, tell stories of how countries fight together by looking over for and helping each other, and give the warm message of unity and strength. The letter demonstrated the common aspiration of all media practitioners who stand by justice.
When people are united and determined, they can achieve anything. To conquer the virus, the world must reach the consensus of building a community with a shared future, gather the common will from all human beings, and formulate a strong power for joint actions.
Upholding the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, encouraging global cooperation on pandemic response, and making responsible actions for both the people and history - that’s a mainstream value that global media shall appreciate.（By He Yin）