On Saturday last week, football player Christian Eriksen suddenly collapsed in the 43rd minute of Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 game against Finland, laying motionless as medical personnel administered CPR.
The Inter Milan star laid on the ground for 15 minutes before being carried off in a stretcher and rushed to the hospital. The game was temporarily suspended as players of both sides appeared in clear distress at the predicament of Eriksen. The game was resumed later in the evening only after it was confirmed that the player was in a stable condition and awake.
The entire spectacle was captured on international television. Western media organisations, especially the BBC, who have long preened themselves for upholding ‘journalistic’ ethics, unabashedly broadcasted the lurid details of the incident even as medical professional were administering treatment to Eriksen.
The BBC coverage included the zoomed-in footage of Eriksen when he was lying unconscious and receiving CPR. The camera also occasionally panned at his wife, who was standing on the sidelines, with distress writ large on her face over her husband’s critical condition.
The BBC felt no compunction in continuing with its coverage, revelling in the tragedy that befell on the soccer player and milking the emotional trauma of his wife, who was clearly distraught at the turn of events on the ground that day. In fact, the coverage was so egregiously bad that Eriksen’s team members had to build a human wall around him to stop the prying media cameras from broadcasting his treatment.
The BBC’s obtrusive and callous coverage of Eriksen’s misery was not lost on millions of fans, who slammed the media organisation for its presumptuous reportage of the incident. BBC quickly became the focal point of criticism as fans around the world condemned its coverage and criticised the BBC for indulging in tragedy porn.
Taking cognisance of the groundswell of criticism directed at it, the BBC promptly issued an apology to its viewers over its TV coverage of Christian Eriksen’s collapse during Denmark v Finland.
“Everyone at the BBC is hoping that Christian Eriksen makes a full recovery of course, and we apologise to anyone who was upset by the images broadcast,” BBC host Gary Lineker said in a statement.
However, in its apology, BBC also tried to subtly wash its hands off the blunder and passed the buck on the Union of European Football Association(UEFA) for its problematic coverage of Eriksen incident.
“The stadium coverage is controlled by UEFA as the host broadcaster, and as soon as the match was suspended we took our coverage off air as quickly as possible,” the BBC statement said.
The Western media’s shameful coverage of India’s coronavirus outbreak
While the BBC displayed an eager alacrity to make amends for its despicable coverage and issued a prompt apology to pacify its viewers, the same courtesy was not extended to much of the Oriental world, most notably India, where an overwhelming number of people called out BBC and other western media outlets for their prejudiced coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.
The western media’s coverage of India’s resurgent COVID-19 outbreak was particularly stark, with western media outlets, including BBC, falling over themselves to paint a gloomy picture of the devastation wreaked by the pandemic and associating it with burning funeral pyres.
The COVID-19 pandemic disclosed the western media’s unhealthy fetish of linking India’s COVID-19 outbreak with funeral pyres. Several media organisations, be it Washington Post, Reuters or BBC, posted pictures of funeral pyres from various places in India to highlight the severity of the pandemic. One of the Washington Post journalists even described a cremation ground’s vertical shot as “stunning”.
Where there are deaths, there are obviously going to be funeral pyres. When the pandemic took its devastating toll on the US, Italy, Brazil and other western countries, there were hardly any media organisations that symbolised the outbreak with the images of burial grounds.
However, this indignity of linking the COVID-19 outbreak with funeral pyres was reserved only for Indians, and it smacked off the west’s envy of India, which was remarkably successful in staving off the initial COVID-19 outbreak when the developed and richer countries of the world were finding it incredibly difficult to control it.
India, with a population of over 1.3 bn people, has roughly 21,000 coronavirus cases per million as opposed to the United Kingdom’s 66,000. India’s fatalities per million is around 266 mark while the UK’s fatalities per million is hovering around 1,875 levels. And yet, the western media organisations swept these figures under the carpet and maliciously focused on the images of burning funeral pyres to rub it in India’s failure in handling the coronavirus outbreak and blowing the tragedy out of proportion.
Scores of Indians expressed their disapproval with the western media’s grotesque coverage of the country’s coronavirus outbreak and their morbid obsession with images of burning funeral pyres. Instead of taking cognisance of the criticism made by the Indians and apologising for its coverage, the western media outlets doubled down on their efforts to cast India in a bad light and reduce the tragedy to just unpleasantly garish pictures of burning funeral pyres.
Racial discrimination perpetuated by western media organisations against India and the developing world
The dichotomy between the reaction to the western backlash over Ericksen incident and the Indian criticism of the reports focusing on burning funeral pyre evinces the deep rooted racism that the western media organisations harbours for Indians.
No sooner did the fans raise alarm over BBC’s problematic coverage of the Eriksen incident, the British media outlet swung into action and issued a swift apology. However, no such alacrity was displayed by the BBC in addressing concerns raised by the Indians, who objected to the British media organisation’s patently misleading coverage of India’s coronavirus outbreak.
This behaviour suggests that addressing criticism from the western masses is all that matters for the BBC and the western media. The criticism of its coverage by Indians and much of the Oriental world is inconsequential and is not even worthy enough of acknowledgement, let alone an apology. While they hold forth on the need to eradicate racism from society, they have no qualms in perpetuating racial discrimination abroad. The difference in the way they treat the criticism from the developing world and the developed world demonstrates that they are deeply racist organisations. They cannot bring themselves to accept the fact that a less-privileged country outperformed them in handling the pandemic.
India, according to them, is incapable of handling a once-in-a-century pandemic better than them. They find it incredibly difficult to understand the reality that India has trumped several advanced countries in the West in taming the coronavirus outbreak. Not just that, India has also been among the frontrunners in aggressively jabbing its population. Even on this front, the western media is running a coordinated campaign by raising questions on the efficacy of Made in India vaccines and cast aspersions on the country’s ambitious vaccination drive.
The presumptuous coverage of the sportsman’s collapse and the contemptible conduct of panning the camera towards his wife was a despicable move. But so was the shameful coverage of India’s funeral pyres. It is about time that western media organisations, including BBC, shed their inherent racism against India and the developing world and treat them on an equal footing with the developed world. A good place to start this would be by apologising to India for the ugly characterisation of the coronavirus outbreak with macabre images of burning funeral pyres.