With government being painfully soft on policing those who break Covid-19 rules, is it not time for the news media to go beyond simply covering the pandemic as a news story?
The tragic deaths of Dawn Lindberg and Gee Six Five as a direct result of the virus this week, and something a local doctor posted on social media, made me wonder whether the media could do more.
The doctor posted this on social media under his own name: “One of my patients walked around a mall this afternoon without a mask. You sir are not just idiot, you’re a selfish idiot! I really hope that you don’t require an ICU bed in the weeks ahead – there might not be one! ”
Maybe more doctors should become this aggressive.
Meanwhile, walking through another mall this week, I noticed that everyone was wearing a mask but at least half of them had masks only covering their mouths. I was tempted to grab each one by the lapels and shout in their faces.
Most would probably react by beating me to a pulp and telling me to mind my own business because they’re wearing masks and not breaking the law. Trouble is, it is my business. It’s my family they are potentially killing.
I would like to see the news media make unsold advertising inventory available to show, in graphic detail, the horrors of death by Covid-19. To ram these pictures home on TV, newspapers, billboards and especially in shopping malls.
Of course, the ubiquitous, politically correct Mother Grundies will complain bitterly that these would be shocking, offensive and frighten little children.
That would be the point. To frighten South Africans into wearing masks over their mouths AND noses and to maintain social distancing.
Right now they are not. Covid-19 is something that happens to other people.
And it is no good waiting for a vaccine either. South Africa is going to have to wait for months before vaccines arrive and then it will take months if not years to get everyone vaccinated.
The mass media can make a difference. Giving away unused ad space will cost nothing. And there are dozens of advertising agencies that would relish producing a no-holds-barred campaign for free.
Chris Moerdyk (@chrismoerdyk ) is a marketing analyst and advisor and owner of Moerdyk Marketing with many years of experience in marketing and the media as well as serving as non-executive director and chairman of companies.
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