[Letters] Treating flu fears in the mediaMedia companies are competitively broadcasting stories about the number of new H1N1 patients and the related casualties. News about people in their teens and twenties dying from the disease is a threat to society.
Rumors are being spread through mobile phones and the Internet. However, the media seems to be supporting the wave of anxiety.
The media’s role is to report facts accurately. However, journalists need to be more cautious with issues like the new flu, about which we have little information. When the media becomes the source of fear, the side effects can be serious.
Recently, the authorities decided to increase the number of prescriptions of the antiviral Tamiflu to patients at private hospitals and to pharmacies. This seems to be the result of public pressure on the government. However, many medical experts are worried that overuse of the antiviral will build up resistance to the drug, and they want it to be given only to qualified patients.
As with any issue, public opinion is not always absolutely correct, especially when distorted by a heightened atmosphere of fear. When it comes to cases without any precedent such as the new flu, the opinions of the experts are the ones we should trust. I believe that media should be more prudent in listening to the opinions of experts like these before releasing the news.
Cho Won-shik, Yangchung High School Student