At the time of writing this, India has reported 86,052 fresh COVID cases, taking the country's coronavirus tally past the 58-lakh mark. The pandemic is taking a heavier toll on jobs than previously estimated. The International Labour Organisation said that Global labour income is estimated to have declined by 10.7 percent during the first nine months of 2020.
Adding to the shocker, during the Monsoon Session of the Parliament, the Government asserted that it did not have data on several crises that have cropped up as a result of the deadly pandemic.
The Centre has come under massive criticism for failing to provide data on all the issues that are currently of utmost importance - the lack of data on migrant workers, on farmer suicides, wrong data on fiscal stimulus, dubious data on COVID deaths, cloudy data on GDP growth.
Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, it is almost a known fact how the uncalled situation has severely impacted the lives of the vulnerable section of the society, who have become the worse-off in this situation, from losing out on their jobs, to accessibility to healthcare services, food and shelter.
The flood waters and landslides in many parts of the country created havoc at the burning time and claimed several lives. Situation along the Line Of Actual Control (LAC) also continues to intensify as India and China remain in a standoff for over five months.
In such a situation, journalism has a great role to play, considering it as an ideally visualised platform for information and critical-rational discourse.
The health of journalism in a country can be examined in the times of a crisis. None of the above seem to be extensively covered by Indian media, especially mainstream.
The Indian media has become an instrument of the ideological apparatus. There are many concerns associated with the COVID-19 crisis: public health systems, guidelines/measures to contain the outbreak, the lack of planning and support to the vulnerable sections.
These issues demand serious discussions, however, the mainstream media seems to be forgetting its role. The migrant exodus and the government's dysfunctional response to help these sections deal with the crisis doesn't seem to be of any importance.
A Bollywood actor's death that was sufficiently reported by the media has now dominated coverage for months. It has now turned into a circus, creating different loops that have nothing to do with the actor's demise. The sad state of affairs is that even the information surrounding the death has been sensationalized.
The way mainstream media organizations have been reporting has drawn massive criticism from across the world, keeping propaganda and unverified news as top priority.
Even at a time when coronavirus infections are soaring in India, any small update on the actor's case or the narcotic's bureau's questioning of actors manages to grab national headlines.
International media, however, has certainly covered some of the current issues prevailing in the country than the domestic channels- from migrant workers' exodus, surging coronavirus cases, economic distress, rape crimes, incidents of vulnerable communities being targeted and much more that deserves our attention.
The Economist mentioned how the border tensions have escalated, with Chinese incursions in Ladakh in 2013 and 2014 and 2017. It also highlighted how China was exasperated by India's decision to revoke the constitutional autonomy of Jammu & Kashmir, and dividing into two Union Territories.
Earlier this year, The Guardian wrote an extensive long story on the February Delhi Riots, stating the dominance of Hindu supremacists on the marginalized section of the society, and the violence unleashed by the Police at educational institutions.
News such residents of Chushul village helped Indian troops face Chinese forces in the Himalayas never came across in our domestic media channels.
CNN's article on India's response to coronavirus, economic challenges is another example. The article not only commended some of the steps taken by Modi at the beginning of the pandemic, but also laid down the contradicting point of views, giving a detailed insight into the current condition prevailing in India.
There are many more examples of how all of the above did not receive extensive coverage by our domestic media, which continue to remain in denial and ruin the reality of any story.
A Hindu man was butchered by a mob in Mangalore, but it was not headline news. Preparations at Ayodhya for laying the foundation stone ran as prime time throughout the day, while our soldiers were being killed in action on the other side. A minor was brutally raped in Lakhimpur village of Uttar Pradesh, but steps taken by the Narcotics Bureau (NCB) on celebrity's case was 24/7 on headlines.
Nobody has been in denial of reporting it, but rape crimes, military incursions, coronavirus updates, economic distress and migrant exodus are equally important, in fact of utmost priority.
The ranting levels of our television anchors and headline news seem more pronounced now and have somehow been successful in diverting our attention from issues that matter.