DESI DIALOGUES: Media’s coverage of missing...
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Mar 28, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

DESI DIALOGUES: Media’s coverage of missing Malaysia Airlines flight appalling

Scarborough Mirror

There are few international stories that have consumed me like the disappearance of Malaysia Airline Flight 370. And, there are fewer stories that have infuriated me than this one.

While my anger cannot compare with the frustration and the heartbreak of the relatives, I truly cannot believe the world we live in-simply because of the events that have played out in the media and the world in the weeks after the flight went missing.

Being a journalist myself, I am appalled by the media circus in Asia, which started immediately following the news of the missing plane.

Even before the relatives could begin to digest the news and make some sense of their loss, the wailing distressed family members were photographed incessantly with flash lights clicking them at close quarters — so that the world could see the deep personal feelings of the families.

Back home in North America, even without the flash bulbs, the insensitivity while talking to relatives was at times appalling especially when done by big TV channels. For instance, I saw a very reputable U.S. news channels’ reporter ­asking what I consider the most ridiculous offensive question: the journalist asked the father of a son was on board the ill fated aircraft, “how he feels” about losing his son.

When I heard this — I could not believe my ears, because that’s what amateur journalists do - not a serious TV channel.

The TV channel then got a psychologist on about the emotional toll this accident has taken on the lives of the grieving relatives, and the psychologist said that the death of the relatives was painful more so because “in some cultures” the rituals for the dead could not be carried on without the body being present (and hence not much of a closure for them.

While that may be true, I think, that is semantics and not really important, in the whole scheme of things.

Every culture and its religion has its rituals. Just look around Toronto to get a snapshot of how each culture buries their dead. Although these rituals are done to help ease the pain for the living it does not help every aspect of death, including closure.

Frankly, I have never been able to understand that word and don’t know what it really means ­— I have lost many of my close relatives, including one of my parents, and I have not had “closure” but just an empty feeling - whenever I think of them missing in my life.

And then comes the anger that I feel towards the officials of Malaysia Airlines who sent a text message to relatives about the loss of their loved ones.

I believe it was so insensitive to have a gadget tell families such important news. Especially after waiting for more than two weeks.

Showing pictures of some obscure place in the Indian Ocean and some pictures of a satellite in my opinion do not call for a definite finale.

As I watched CNN recently, I heard Bimal Sharma, a brother of one of the passengers, say that the Malaysian authorities have graphically provided a solution, to what is a very emotional problem.

As a captain in the Indian merchant navy and who has almost 38 years of sailing experience, Sharma told CNN that the southern part of the Indian Ocean and that particular part of the sea, where some 122 objects were said to be floating, could be tons of garbage floating around as many ships dump there waste out there.

I hope this sad saga and mystery ends for the relatives and they get some concrete evidence after all these days of waiting and hopefully some clue that can bring some sanity in their otherwise disturbed lives.

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