“No News Is Good News”

We have been under the government mandated lockdown and self quarantine for almost 50 days now. Sounds strange, no? 50 days out of 365. We have been watching the news since day 1. No update goes by. We are glued to our phones, laptops, ipads – basically anything with a screen. Every time I hear my phone ‘ping’, I expect it to be another COVID-19 news update and I feel dread in the bottom of my stomach. News channels and media are now flooded with numbers and statistics, most of which are terrifying.

We are stuck in this endless circle of bad news which seems inescapable. You can’t stop watching the news because what if you miss some important information? But watching it only gives you a feeling of impending doom. There are endless debates and discussions about every possible topic related to COVID-19, with more screaming and finger pointing than actual problem solving.

What has traditional news media become? A bottomless pit of propaganda, hate mongering and tongue-lashing. Even our leaders seem to be playing the blame game or becoming peddlers of false positivity especially where it comes to the real issues – the human rights violations, the complaints of the frontline workers and marginalised communities. The saddest part is that most of our countrymen have access only to this outlet. Even highly educated citizens, our own friends and family, also choose to blindly believe these sources.

It makes me wonder, in a time like this, is no news good news?

Or is it a matter of finding a balance? Of taking in only as much information as required for our survival and mental wellbeing? Do we need to learn how to filter out the nonsense from the actual news? Do we need better reporting – in terms of being impartial, informative and useful? Do we need our news channels to be less sensationalist and more focused on the problems of the masses rather than pushing their own agenda?

I have no definitive answers to any of these questions but one thing that I do know for certain is that if things don’t change soon, the youth will lose faith in these traditional channels. Maybe we already have.

– Rupali Sachdev

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