Amidst the 2nd wave of the pandemic in India, western media publications have resorted to monetizing and promoting the human catastrophe caused due to the Wuhan Coronavirus infection. With an intention to draw more eyeballs and glamorise Covid deaths in the country, publications such as the Washington Post and Deutsche Welle (DW) News have largely relied on traumatising pictures of corpses, and burning funeral pyres.
To further their agenda, they are now paying social media platforms to promote the reach of such news items. With a clickbait headline such as “Coronavirus has crushed India’s health system. Patients are on their own”, the Washington Post paid for Twitter ads to increase their reach.
A similar strategy was employed by the German public broadcaster DW News. With a featured image that shows a drone shot of burning pyres, DW News’ sponsored post bore a catchy caption. “How did the Covid crisis in India get this bad?” read the headline of the article.
Netizens slam Washington Post for cashing on India’s Coronavirus tragedy
Netizens were miffed at how the two international news publications have been exploiting the human tragedy in India as a ‘cash cow.’ A Twitter user (@venkybengaluru) wrote, “When was the last time you saw Washington Post doing a paid promotion on Twitter!? Check out how shamelessly it promotes a story on Twitter to defame India!”
When was the last time you saw @washingtonpost doing a paid promotion on Twitter!? Check out how shamelessly it promotes a story on Twitter to defame India! #washingtonpost #COVID19 @DrSJaishankar @narendramodi @AmitShah @timesofindia pic.twitter.com/UeZnoMe787— Venky (@venkybengaluru) May 6, 2021
Berges, the Director of ShareChat, pointed out, “It’s one thing to report about the terrible situation in India and the deaths and mayhem. Curious though, why is DW news paying for the promotion of a video showcasing the carnage caused by the virus?”
It’s one thing to report about the terrible situation in India and the deaths and mayhem. Curious though, why is DW news paying for the promotion of a video showcasing the carnage caused by the virus? pic.twitter.com/8EtwrCZfSX— Berges (@berges) May 10, 2021
Journalist Abhijit Majumder tweeted, “So is Washington Post. When serious money goes into promoting India’s tragedy, the projected returns must be very lucrative.”
Another user wrote, “Why is @washingtonpost promoting their tweet about CHINESE VIRUS’s impact in India?”
US media selling ‘tragedy porn’, cashing the Covid crisis
Amidst a surging Coronavirus wave, India has become the centre of attention for media all around the world. This has led to wider coverage of India in the worldwide press, focusing on the imagery of the customary Hindu funeral pyre as a way to “shock” their non-Indian audience. After controversial journalist Barkha Dutt was seen reporting from crematoriums, now photographs of tragic funeral pyres, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, have now become valuable commodities, bought and sold in the Western press.
The British-American media company Getty Images now hosts multiple images depicting multiple Indian funeral pyres lit ablaze on their website. From here, any potential media group around the world can buy these images, in three different sizes, with the largest size priced at about Rs. 23,000. While the liberal media have been publishing such images to peddle its anti-India agenda, it has yet not dared to show pictures of 750 dead bodies of Covid-19 patients lying unattended in a morgue in New York.