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Uproar as Bolivian TV program live broadcasts Covid-19 death

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PHOTO: Nam News Network

A Bolivian television channel TV channel sparked outrage yesterday after it broadcast live the last minutes of a dying Covid-19 patient as doctors battled in vain to save him. A spokesman for the “No Lies” program says it took the decision to show a Covid-19 patient’s death in the eastern city of Santa Cruz to jolt authorities, who have neglected health services, into action.

The program airs nightly on the PAT channel, in a region which has seen some 60% of Bolivia’s 21,499 cases and about half its 697 deaths. It showed the patient’s death over a half hour period as doctors tried to resuscitate the man.

Bolivia’s ombudswoman, Nadia Cruz, slammed the show for “sensationalism,” saying it “repeatedly and morbidly exhibited images showing cardiopulmonary treatment being carried out on a person, which unfortunately ended in death.”

“The broadcast clearly conflicts with the national legal order. Such programming can generate a kind of collective fear.”

Her office is an independent body appointed to investigate complaints against the government or public organisations.

The program was widely criticised on social networks, including by prominent journalists. Maria Trigo, from the newspaper El Deber de Santa Cruz and Cochabamba daily Los Tiempos.

“What a lack of respect for the family, for the deceased. We lost a lot of things with this virus, including empathy.”

“A lack of respect and humanity.”

Other commentary has congratulated the bold programming because it starkly brought the reality of Covid-19 death to light, saying that by sanitising the gruesome reality of the deaths provides opportunities for people to ignore the pandemic.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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