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The Psychological Impact of Media Sensationalism Prior to the recent Cyclone 'Remal' in West Bengal

  • 1.  The Psychological Impact of Media Sensationalism Prior to the recent Cyclone 'Remal' in West Bengal

    Posted 18 days ago
    Edited by Abhishek Rao 18 days ago

    Background

    The advanced onset of Cyclone Real in West Bengal, peculiarly affecting coastal regions around the, had highlighted an often overlooked issue, the mental price of media coverage before & during pre-notified disasters. As the cyclone approached, mainstream media crossed the defer and expanse bombarded residents with alarming graphics, grievous commentary as well as and a lasting bombardment of updates. While the spirit was to inform and prepare, this reporting unwittingly escalated anxiousness and fear among the public, leading to meaningful mental distress.

    The Media's Role in Shaping Perception

    The media plays an important purpose during these hazards, providing base data around the tempest is path, recourse measures as well as and exigency responses.

    However, the competitor unreliable of word reporting often drives outlets to sensationalize their reporting to entry interview attention. Prior to Cyclone Remal, headlines mostly used wrangle tending 'devastating', 'catastrophic', and 'deadly' as well as accompanied by spectacular visuals depicting worst case scenarios.

    The Impact of Sensationalism

    This approach, spell efficacious at grabbing attention, has grievous mental repercussions. Continuous pic & substandard misrepresenting animations to fear inducing capacity could run to heightened anxiety, stress, and point panic among viewers. For numerous residents of West Bengal, the lasting media reporting of Cyclone Remal turned an already trying position into a viewer of overwhelming fear.

    Primary Psychological Impact on Residents

    A primary sample surveys conducted among residents of mt home town Bhadreswar and surrounding areas revealed a meaningful improvement in anxiousness and fear as the cyclone approached. Around 200 people participated in it and 75% of the respondents reported feeling overwhelmed by the continuous bombardment of alarming news, which amplified their experience of impuissance and dread. The media portrait of the cyclone as an impending tragedy unexpended numerous feelings psychologically drained and sterile to grapple effectively.

    • Anxiety and Stress: A nonmigratory of Bhadreswar recounted how the successive media updates unexpended her feeling paralyzed with fear. Despite having clinched all demand preparations, the non-stop use of alarming word clinched it unthinkable for her to relax, leading to watchful nights and grievous anxiety.
    • Panic and Overreaction: Another topical nonmigratory described how the sensationalist reporting prompted an experience of scare in his household. The family, as well as overwhelmed by the spectacular predictions, evacuated their place prematurely as well which caused bare accent and supply challenges.

    Broader Psychological Implications

    The mental touch of sensationalist media reporting extends beyond individual cases. It could make a permeative experience of apprehensiveness inside intact communities as well as affecting ethnic cohesiveness and aggregated morale. When tending becomes the predominant emotion, it could block efficacious heretical reaction and retrieval efforts.
     

    Effects on Vulnerable Populations

    Vulnerable populations, much as the elderly, children, and those with pre-existing honorable wellness conditions, were peculiarly able to the subtraction effects of sensationalist media coverage. These groups may have exacerbated anxiety and stress, hike complicating their power to reply to and recover from the disaster.

    Expert Insights on Media Induced Anxiety

    Mental wellness professionals said that the media's admittance to tragedy reporting could importantly exasperate viewers' anxiety. Dr. Anjali Mukherjee, a psychologist based in Kolkata, explained that continuous exposure to fear laden capacity could induce a chronic stress response. When people were terrified with images and narratives that highlighted immoderate danger as well as it activates their fight-or-flight response. This is good in prompt danger, but sustained over time, it could run to anxiousness disorders, depression as well as and new honorable wellness issues, (Mukherjee, 2024).

    The Role of Social Media

    In addition to formal word outlets, ethnic media platforms convey an important purpose in shaping acceptant perception. The fast circulation of unverified information as well as rumors as well as sensationalist capacity on platforms tending Facebook and X could expand panic and confusion. During Cyclone Remal, numerous users reported encountering alarming posts and videos that exacerbated their anxiousness (Gosh, 2024).

    The Need for Responsible Reporting

    To mitigate the negative psychological impacts of disaster reporting, a galore balanced and aware admittance is necessary. Some key recommendations for media practices would be:

    • Balanced Reporting: Media outlets should aim to allow clear, touchable data without resorting to sensationalism. This includes using calm as well as measured nomenclature and avoiding too spectacular visuals. (Anderson & Holcomb, 2023).
    • Mental Health Considerations: News organizations should consult with honorable wellness experts to learn the touch of their reporting and adjust their reporting strategies accordingly. This could aid in presenting data that informs without causing exuberant stress. (Smith, 2022).
    • Public Education: Enhancing viewers' understanding of fast phenomena and exigency forwardness could adorn individuals to respond more effectively. Educational segments on what to anticipate during a cyclone and how to grow can declare a cartel on spectacular media portrayals and fostered an experience of check and forwardness (Rao, 2023).
    • Emphasis on Official Sources: Encouraging people to rely on authorized sources for data to combat the circulation of misinformation. Media outlets could convey a purpose by thoroughly referencing and verifying data furnished authorized channels of the Meteorological Department and Disaster Managements Authorities. (Patel, 2023)
    • Highlighting Positive Stories: Including stories of resilience, preparedness, and heretical concentration could allow a more balanced view and reduced fear.  Highlighting how communities were coming unitedly to search for the hazard could bring confidence and collective action. (Kumar, 2024)
    • Training for Journalists: Implementing training programs for journalists on right reporting during disasters could improve the type and feeling of media coverage. Such training should center on the grandness of accuracy, the mental touch of sensationalism as well as and the need for compassionate reporting (Johnson, 2023) .
    • Monitoring and Feedback Mechanisms: Establishing mechanisms to monitor media reporting and gathering acceptable feedback could aid identified and conform sensationalist reporting practices. Media organizations could use this feedback to improve their reporting strategies and improve their audiences. (Lee, 2022) .

    Conclusion

    The media is reporting that Cyclone Remal in West Bengal, while aimed at informing and protecting the public, had significant negative psychological impacts. The sensationalist admittance contributed to increased anxiousness and fear, overshadowing hard nosed and shaping responses to the disaster. Moving forward, a more balanced and trusty admittance to tragedy reporting is base to concentrate viewers' wellness and ensure efficacious tragedy forwardness and response.

    By prioritizing touchable reporting and considering the mental well being of their audience, media outlets could convey an important purpose in not entirely informing but likewise calming and guiding the public to combat disasters. The lessons from Cyclone Real underscored the need for media reform in tragedy reporting. By adopting practices that emphasized accuracy, wellness awareness, and heretical resilience, the media can facilitate the role of the public in time of crisis, helping to mitigate stress and enhance preparedness.

    References

    • Anderson, B., & Holcomb, J. (2023). The effects of sensationalist media on public anxiety during natural disasters. Journal of Media Studies, 45(2), 123-137.
    • Ghosh, R. (2024). Social media's role in shaping public perception during Cyclone Remal. Indian Journal of Communication, 52(1), 88-102.
    • Johnson, L. (2023). Ethical reporting during natural disasters: A guide for journalists. Journalism Review, 36(4), 145-159.
    • Kumar, P. (2024). Highlighting resilience: Positive media stories during disasters. Media & Society, 41(3), 199-215.
    • Lee, S. (2022). Public feedback and media practices: Improving disaster coverage. Global Media Journal, 50(2), 281-295.
    • Mukherjee, A. (2024). Psychological effects of disaster media coverage. Kolkata Journal of Psychology, 29(4), 178-189.
    • Patel, S. (2023). Importance of official sources during natural disasters. Disaster Management Review, 37(1), 45-58.
    • Rao, M. (2023). Public education and disaster preparedness. Journal of Emergency Management, 30(2), 74-89.
    • Smith, T. (2022). Media's responsibility in disaster reporting. Global Media Journal, 50(3), 301-317.



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    Abhishek Rao, R.A, MURP (Pursuing), B.Arch, B.Fine, DIT
    Post Graduate Scholar at Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST), Shibpur
    Student Member, American Planning Association (APA)
    West Bengal, India
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