The news media in Flanders presented a varied and multidisciplinary picture of social reality during the pandemic, and generally did a “good” to “very good” job, the Flemish Journalists Association (VVJ) said on Friday.
In recent months, the Flemish media have been criticised for their reporting on the health crisis, to which they decided to respond in a five-page memo on Friday, via the association.
Recently, a collective of more than a hundred people denounced the “allegedly poor quality of reporting on the coronavirus, which is too focused on medical virology and too favourable to the government,” in its “Winter Manifesto.”
The “Winter Manifesto” of 30 December 2021 seems to avoid the trap of generalisation, as it states that “some journalists and media” deserve praise for their approach to the pandemic.
“Nevertheless, the signatories fall into a blind generalisation when they say that the media ‘in general’ did not do their job enough,” said Pol Deltour, national secretary of the VVJ, who regrets this “gratuitous and unsubstantiated” statement.
It is also particularly worrying that some criticism of the media has already turned into direct verbal and physical attacks on journalists.
“Increasingly, journalists covering protests against the coronavirus policy are an explicit target of perpetrators of violence, leading to physical injuries, “Deltour said. “Insults and intimidation of journalists – on the street and online – are commonplace, with the result that journalists no longer want to cover coronavirus protests.”