Don’t hound kin of COVID-19 patients for byte, orders TN government

As the number of positive cases in Tamil Nadu climbed to 67, the official regretted that some journalists were trying to get bytes from the kin of patients

The Central government in a status report filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday sought its directions for media houses not to publish, print or telecast anything without first confirming it from the concerned authorities.

The broadcast media and press should follow self-regulation in reporting COVID-19 cases and not hound either the patients or their kin for information as it is against medical ethics, a senior public health official said here on Monday (March 30).

As the number of positive cases in Tamil Nadu climbed to 67, the official regretted that some journalists were trying to get bytes from the kin of patients by even “following the
ambulances in which positive patients were taken,” in some instances.

Though the government has all along been sharing information related to coronavirus cases to the media, some from the fraternity were trying to contact relatives and doctors to “get finer details, including how the patients contracted illness, how the infected felt or about the condition of others in the family,” the official said.

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“Relatives of the patients get scared when they are hounded by questions from journalists. Repeated questioning may be really depressing, especially when one of their dear
ones are fighting the infection in isolation.”

“A woman, (after she got a call from a reporter) even called us and cried as to what will happen to her husband and it was very disquieting to us,” the official told PTI.

She appealed to the media and press to follow self-regulation and avoid contacting the relatives of patients for information.

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