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AAJA calls for “accurate and fair portrayals of Asians and Asian Americans”

This is excerpted from a statement by the AAJA MediaWatch Committee on February 13, 2020 and revised March 19, 2020. Read more on the AAJC website.

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is urging journalists to exercise care in their coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in China to ensure accurate and fair portrayals of Asians and Asian Americans and to avoid fueling xenophobia and racism that have already emerged since the outbreak.

Some of the news and commentary that have raised concern include:

  • Use of images of people wearing face masks without providing the proper context: For many years prior to the coronavirus outbreak, face masks have been commonly used in East Asian countries, including for protection from pollution… (read more)
  • Use of generic images of Chinatown: Only include images of a local Chinatown if it is directly related to a news story… (read more)
  • Use of the term “Wuhan virus,” “China coronavirus,” or “Chinese coronavirus,” or any other term that uses geographic locations or refers to a population to describe the virus: The World Health Organization issued guidelines in 2015 discouraging the use of geographic locations… (read more)
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