Fear-mongering, pandemics, and responsible media

Break panel in case of emergency, hit red button and run like hellWhile health communication (and increased coverage of health issues) is critical, there is a line between the need to animate what can be a dry topic, and straight-ahead fear-mongering.
 
My feeling is that this excerpt below, from a promotional email sent out by CBC, goes too far:

BLACK DAWN: THE NEXT EPIDEMIC

 
What would happen if the World Health Organization declared what has long been expected and feared: human-to-human transmission of the avian flu virus? Black Dawn is a docudrama featuring leading epidemiologists, doctors and emergency planners who imagine the impact avian flu would have as it spreads around the globe. Some predict the coming pandemic will be more lethal than all of the world’s previous plagues. Black Dawn combines expert opinions with dramatic recreations to paint a starkly realistic picture of life during the next pandemic.Visit the web companion to read interviews with experts and a take look back at the epidemic in 1918.

http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/nextpandemic/index.html
Airing on CBC Newsworld

3 comments

  1. Thanks Nedra. I just added some contact info so I’m easier to find. I just launched this blog (migrated over from Bloglines), so I’m in the early stages of learning WordPress. It’s a bit like when I learned to drive standard – pretty frequent ‘kangarooing’ yanking passengers to and fro, and some uh-oh moments with the car rollling backwards on a hill 🙂

  2. I too object to the CBC blurb. Flu is a serious disease, killing thousands of people worldwide each year. Every few decades a new strain emerges causing an increased incidence and mortality, and the death toll reaches into the millions. The 1918 flu was an exceptional event, and basing all planning on the fear of new pandemic of equal magnitude would almost certainly be a big mistake. Of course we should prepare for flu epidemics and pandemics, but we should not lose site of the fact that HIV/AIDS, cancer, cardio-vascular disease, TB, malaria, and other diseases are killing millions of people every year and should be the major focus of society’s efforts.

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