According to a survey, the world media reported a pandemic alien exclusion, but also emphasized global efforts to combat it.

3D rendering of SARS-CoV-2.Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese and Asian communities have faced violence, harassment and discrimination in addition to the threat of the virus itself. China has been blamed for this virus in terms such as “Wuhan virus” and “Kang influenza”, used by some powers and repeated in the media. A study by the University of Kansas not only reports such terms in the media around the world, but also emphasizes the need for global efforts to combat the pandemic and the associated harassment.

KU researchers analyzed 451 news articles from New York Times, Parents When China DailySelected for their large readers and their different international perspectives on COVID-19 coverage During 2020, the first year of the pandemic. Survey results show that the media is very influential in the way people think about problems and that care must be taken when naming illnesses and threats after regions, people and ethnic groups. ..

“We have keywords such as” Chinese virus “, how the media expressed them, and the media is COVID-19, racism, Exclusion of foreigners KU’s PhD candidate for journalism and mass communication and lead author of the study, Muhammad Ittefak, said “to the western Chinese and Asian communities.” For Chinese and Asians on the streets, in stores, and everywhere. It is interesting to understand how the media uses these terms in relation to racism and alien exclusion, and how various newspapers build the pandemic as a whole. Was intrigued. “

Studies published in the journal Analysis of social issues and public policy, Co-authored by PhD candidate Mauryne Abwao. Analyze Baines, a PhD student. Genelle Belmas, Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication. Shafiq Ahmad Kamboh, PhD candidate. And Josue Figueroa, an assistant professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Bremen and KU in Germany.

The analyzed news coverage was categorized into four themes.

  • Depiction of the virus as a threat
  • Racialization of COVID-19 as a multifaceted threat
  • Call for grouping to control the racialization of the virus
  • A speculative solution to end discrimination against Asians.

coverage New York Times When Parents I found that the first two themes were taken up more prominently, China Daily A more commonly addressed theme of grouping to curb racialization and speculative solutions. Western publications reflect the Western culture of journalism, China DailyDespite being an English publication, it is primarily a mirror of the Chinese state, according to researchers, despite being run independently.

“Chinese papers represent sentiment from the perspective of the Chinese government, and the other two papers also have a broad readership and give a global overview,” Abwao said of his selection of publications. rice field. “And these newspapers pay attention to social issues and cover them extensively, and they tend to set agenda on social issues around the world.”

Coverage of the most prominent theme of virus racialization as a multi-faceted threat includes numerous inclusions of terms such as “Wuhan virus” and “Chinese virus”, identification of criticisms against China, and the Chinese and Asian communities. Included reports of outbreaks of violence and harassment against. Among the themes, there was also important coverage of criticism due to the worsening US-China relations during the Trump administration.

COVID-19 as a threat, the second most prominent theme, reported that the virus was not only a threat to health, economics, politics and other aspects of life, but also had a sub-theme of false information. .. Politicians and other reports have reiterated conspiracy theories that China has released the virus to harm other world economies, or that certain countries are pleased that China is suffering. The authors of the study wrote that such media representations are dangerous, because even when such information is clearly wrong, it potentially encourages such misunderstandings in the minds of the general public. Because there is a possibility.

“Roughly speaking, this is a health crisis, but COVID-19 is not just a health problem. It’s a crisis at many different levels, so we named this paper a” pandemic of hatred. ” Said Ittefaq. .. “Pandemic and disease outbreaks have been associated with hatred in the past. The COVID-19 crisis has emerged as a multifaceted and highly complex type of crisis. It is economic, cultural, political and social. Not only is it targeted, but racial discrimination is also on the rise. It is emphasized by right-wing media and politicians. It’s about health, racial discrimination, and dislike. ”

All the newspapers in the sample contained coverage on the theme of grouping to control the racialization of the virus, China Daily.. The publication, also quoted by former US Supreme Court judge John Marshall Harlan, “The virus is colorblind. It does not make a distinction based on skin color, religion, or socio-economic status. It is ideological. There is no prejudice. We are not aware of borders. “The use of the words of the major Western individuals was a clear attempt to show that the global crisis is the responsibility of everyone to deal with. The author of the study claims.

The final theme included speculative solutions to eliminate discrimination against Asians. Reported in it were hashtag calls aimed at supporting activist groups, harnessing the power of social media, combating discrimination, and sharing messages of solidarity among countries around the world. was.

The authors of the study used Social Expression Theory (SRT) to understand media coverage of selected keywords. SRT is primarily a psychological theory. A message that people hear prominently is very influential in shaping how people think about a particular topic or problem. This is true of the mass media, especially in the case of pandemics, in that the crisis was widely reported throughout the media. In the message analyzed from the beginning of the pandemic to 2020, the media is the main source of information, as many people are isolated at home and people have no contact with other people who normally share information. was.

The findings show the potential danger of naming an illness or health crisis because of a geographic location, a particular ethnicity, or a particular population. It has recurred throughout history, with the “Ebola virus” and the “Spanish flu” being two prominent examples. But even if the media simply reports the words of prominent politicians and leaders who use xenophobic terms, it influences and shapes global discourse on the topic, thereby discrimination, violence, It can lead to or enhance harassment. The data show that it is important for public health authorities, politicians, news media, and world leaders to pay attention when naming, labeling, and discussing health crises.

“If something is unknown, people try to name it. Because this is unknown, people started trying to name the place for the virus,” Abwao said. “People understand and share common ideas through social construction, so we share what we build about the problem. Here, at COVID-19, the general view that this virus is a Chinese virus. Or there is a social build. This social build has been amplified. media And in people’s minds, and this is what people tend to believe. SRT suggests how you name and fix something, which tends to make society think about it in a particular way. ”

Labels of COVID-19 virus and its variants caused alien exclusion

For more information:
Muhammad Ittefaq et al, Pandemic of Hatred: Social Representation of COVID-19 in the Media, Analysis of social issues and public policy (2022). DOI: 10.1111 / asap.12300

Quote: According to a survey, the global media reported a pandemic xenophobia, but the global effort to combat it (February 10, 2022) is https: // Obtained from -media-pandemic-xenophobia- on February 10, 2022. Emphasis.html

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According to a survey, the world media reported a pandemic alien exclusion, but also emphasized global efforts to combat it.

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