Coronavirus and the much-awaited notification of a director general (DG) have infected the nation with viral uncertainties.
What’s the connection between a DG’s notification and a pandemic?
Well, to understand the connection, you will need to read the whole piece.
First, something about the notification. In case you haven’t been following the fiasco stemming from the no-notification of the DG of a premier security agency, the war between ‘sources’ – both reliable and unreliable – continues in the media – both mainstream and social media.
Sources are to the media what oxygen is to the living lots. While everybody loves to be published by their name in an exclusive and history-making move and be famed overnight, these selfless sources wish to be unnamed for the reasons best known to them.
The DG-notification mess unleashed a war between the sources claiming to have access to the right circles either in Rawalpindi or Islamabad and breaking the news about the timing of the notification issue and the names on it. Much to the delights of goddess of ethical journalism, every source-based news turned out to be a dud. Shame!
A very seasoned journalist said on October 11 that as per their sources, the notification of the new DG would be issued on October 12. On October 13, the same journo was saying that as per sources, the notification is ready to be issued, and would be issued at an appropriate time. This time, the sources were sane and very careful. Three cheers for the man (or the woman) and the sources for playing safe.
There are certain issues where one needs to listen to their sources, and move on, instead of being used by them. Sometimes, it is in the best personal, national and international interest to remain mum when a source tries to feed you something for onward circulation.
The same thing has affected international efforts to stem the tide of the coronavirus. Media continues to spew fake concerns about the pandemic and the vaccine. Recently, the Punjab government reached out to the citizens offering anti-Covid shots at their doorsteps. The phased programme initially focused on five major cities and the Lahore city administration organised approximately 450 social mobilizers to help convince and vaccinate people across the city. The mobilizers included university students and government and public officials. Those dealing with the vaccine process say one of the major concerns of the people is about the side effects of the vaccine, mainly because of how quickly it has come out, considering how vaccines usually require years and years of research and testing.
These are the things propagated by the media, citing unnamed sources. However, there is also a group among these people who believe that the vaccine is prepared using Haram ingredients which is not suitable for Muslims.
Another widely accepted myth is that if a person has already had Covid-19, they do not require the vaccine. This fact is that as there is a possibility of re-infection with Covid-19, considering the rapidly mutating virus, people are advised to get the vaccine even if they have been sick before. Another reason is that currently there is not enough information available to verify if or for how long people are protected from getting Covid-19 after they have had it (natural immunity).
Coming back to the main issues, we see the issue has been resolved as it was to be resolved. Similarly, if you are not a scientist, and of course, a journalist be a scientist, please refrain from saying something about science which is on your gut feeling. Go to some expert, speak to them and if they are willing to say something on the record and with some credible evidence, you’re welcome to publish the finding in the larger interest of the humanity.