As the news of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha’s health being critical is going around for awhile now, Regional News channels declared her no more at around 5.32 pm today, while on the other hand, the National Media Houses remained silent. This caused panic and wreaked havoc amongst the followers of Amma, as she is fondly known as and others swarmed streets trying hard to stock up essentials. A little while later, the national media houses shamed the announcements of these Regional media houses by releasing a statement of Ms Sangita Reddy from Apollo Hospitals, Chennai stating that the Chief Minister is alive but very critical.
The speculations about the death of Amma began late Sunday evening when the Chief Minister suffered a major cardiac arrest and was said to be very critical. Ms Jayalalitha was admitted in the Apollo First Med Hospitals on 22nd September this year and has been under treatment ever since. A special team of doctors from All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), New Delhi arrived at the hospital to aid in her treatment.
THE ROLE OF CITIZEN JOURNALISM:
As every other situation, news about the life and death of the CM did its rounds on all social media. Rumours of the CM having demised last evening but news being held back, others about security being tightened etc. just added onto the already existing panic caused due to the improper official statements, leading to multiple speculations and theories by everyone who considered themselves qualified to circulate such news. What was saddening is that the information is from multiple sources without being authenticated.
What made the situation worse were the never-ending queues at the petrol bunks and news features going around the regional media asking people to stock up essentials. While that is going on one hand, on the other hand, AIADMK party members, MLAs, and Amma followers are flocking near the hospital constantly praying for a speedy recovery. The centre has announced its support and major political leaders have tweeted their prayers.
Apollo hospitals released a press statement confirming the efforts of the specialists and that all other news announcing her demise is a hoax. While the rumors continue to circulate and clarity being sought by all the citizens, this entire episode was just an illustration of how the news relating to life of a political leader is being played around and speculations of a tragedy being struck hampering with the everyday lives of the people causing unrest and panic as the state continues to pray for their beloved Chief Minister.