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The New Indian Express Uses Picture Of A Muslim To Represent Spike In COVID-19 Cases In Bangalore, Deletes It Later Without Apology

The New Indian Express today carried a news report of an increase in the number of COVID-19 related cases in Bangalore along with an unrelated image of a Muslim man to represent the story. Later, when people on social media slammed it for linking a particular community for the spread of the virus the newspaper quietly deleted the picture without an apology.

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The linking of the coronavirus pandemic to the Muslim community is not a gaffe on part of the media. Two days ago, the country’s national public radio broadcaster, All India Radio (AIR) was called out for its blatant display of Islamophobia and false and malicious reporting after it tweeted a report on new COVID-19 cases in Jharkhand along with a picture of a mosque with skull cap wearing Muslims. The tweet, which is now deleted said ‘105 new patients detected in #Jharkhand, cases reach 1135,’ and accompanied a picture of a mosque, with no connection to either the coronavirus or the state of Jharkhand.

In March, at the height of nationwide lockdown, The Hindu newspaper had published a disturbing cartoon, showing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) dressed in Muslim attire and terrorising the world. It was called out for equating the deadly virus with caricatures of Muslims and normalising anti-Muslim hatred in the country. The paper later deleted the cartoon after tendering an apology.

Ever since Delhi’s Markaz Nizamuddin emerged as a coronavirus containment zone, the mainstream media has often been caught demonizing Muslims by linking the spread of the coronavirus to the whole community.

News channels have malicously termed the coronavirus pandemic as ‘Corona Jihad’, ‘Terrorist Virus’, insinuating a Muslim-led conspiracy behind its spread leading to attack against the community across the country.

Shaik Zakeer Hussain is the Founder and Editor of The Cognate.

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