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Is the current reporting on India “propaganda journalism”?

Gabor Steingart writes in his newsletter: "The coronavirus holds the world's largest democracy in a stranglehold. The situation in India is dire:

  • The country is currently responsible for 40 percent of new corona infections worldwide. With 352,991 new corona infections within 24 hours, India reached the global record for the fifth day in a row. Only in the US have more cases been reported since the pandemic began.
  • With 2,812 corona deaths within one day and a total of 195,123 deaths, India has the most deaths in South Asia. At the same time, the hospitals are busy to more than 200 percent. Patients die on the way to the clinic, crematoriums ask relatives of the deceased for patience."
Many media in Germany report in the same style. If you open Internet pages, newspapers and television, you get into an alarm mood.

So here is a different opinion - a text by Alfred Koch , the former Vice Prime Minister of Russia. The Russian-German who still knows Vladimir Putin from their St. Petersburg times, is today a fierce critic of the president and lives in Upper Bavaria:

"The theater that is being played by the European media on the Corona issue in India is supposed to show that there are places in the world where the situation is worse than in Europe, and that the European authorities are doing everything right and we must bear everything, all the restrictions, 'otherwise it will be like in India'.

And what about India? Let's not calculate the absolute, but the relative values. On average, around 350,000 people test positive every day in India. Taking into account the fact that 1.4 billion people live in India, that translates to 250 people per 1 million population.

However, this is roughly the same infection level as in Germany last week: an average of 245 people per million per day. In some other European countries the situation is sometimes worse. And the whole week before last, the number was even higher - 300 people per million people.

And nobody fell into hysteria because of it, nobody shouted that there was a catastrophe in Germany. And in Berlin there was even a rally by many thousands against the Corona measures.

In reality, the death rate is the same: there were 3,000 deaths in India the day before yesterday, that's roughly 2 people per million. In the past week, around 2.6 people per million people per day died in Germany. And nobody showed cemeteries full of corpses, weeping widows and creepy pyres on TV or in the media...

I've been saying it for a long time: there is nothing more disgusting than propaganda journalism, especially in its voluntary form, when a journalist becomes a propagandist at the call of his heart..."

Two contrary positions are shown here. One aspect that does not appear in either position is how well prepared the Indian health system is and how it is coping with the situation. As little as I know about India, I cannot imagine that medical care there is on a par with Western European countries, says journalist Boris Reitschuster. In this respect, any attempt at equating should be viewed with skepticism in my eyes. On the other hand, it is difficult to imagine that the hygiene measures in India are implemented just as strictly as in our country - and the rates of those who tested positive are nevertheless at a similar level. So questions after questions.

Photo: AP Photo/Manish Swarup
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