Usage of term 'Indian variant' wrong and unethical: SAJA

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: May 08, 2021, 12:04 PM(IST)

File photo of a new variant of coronavirus Photograph:( Reuters )

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Stressing on how this term can be termed as ‘racist’ and can fuel unjustified anger towards the Indian community on a global level

To stress considerate and careful reporting, the South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) has advised all media organisations to not use the term ‘India variant’ or ‘Indian variant’ while reporting about a certain new strain of coronavirus.

Stressing on how this term can be termed as ‘racist’ and can fuel unjustified anger towards the Indian community on a global level, SAJA said, "Over the years, certain disease names have provoked verbal, physical or social backlash against members of specific religious or ethnic groups".

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The association has urged media houses to not promote any such usage of these terms and practice their profession in accordance with guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015 which warns naming diseases/variants after countries from where they originated.

"SAJA recommends applying the same guidance to any current or future variants of the coronavirus," the organisation advised.

The variant in question is B.1.617, also known as ‘double mutant’ due to its mutations found in other variants that appeared together for the first time in this new strain and first detected in western parts of India, the letter stated.

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