In this article published in The Conversation, Dr Mirna Solic and Dr Jan Čulík argue that there is an existing bias in the English language media when it comes to reporting COVID-19 success stories.
They discuss why such stories from Central European countries are under reported in English language media, and preference is given to other countries, which report similar, if not the same results in curbing the pandemic, such as New Zealand.
As the main reason the authors stress the role of stereotypes about the history of Central Europe, highlighting collective suffering, authoritarianism, and permanent hardship as the dominant ones. In case of Croatia, the 1990s War of Independence is often used by the media in order to explain the country’s approach to the pandemic. Parallels are also drawn between Central European responses to the pandemic and the alleged xenophobic attitudes in the region.
The authors suggest that the use of stereotypes in reporting is detrimental as it diverts focus from recognising the role of public health systems in Central Europe in a successful response to the pandemic.
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