Natural vs. Neutral

The Case of Snehal Lunawat

Investigating Natural News

Investigate the Source

On September 7, 2022, an article was posted to the NaturalNews website discussing the death of Snehal Lunawat, a medical student from India who’s father claims she died as a result of taking the Covishield Covid vaccine. According to the article, Dilip Lunawat, Snehal’s father, is “demanding a payout” from Bill Gates who is described in the article as “one of the ghouls behind the shot’s creation.” The article also describes Covid vaccinations as “deadly drugs”, and says that “Chinese Virus injections are a death sentence to many.” One major standout point of Natural News’s article about this case is it’s very noticeable bias. According to the Institute of Strategic Dialogue (ISD), “NaturalNews is widely acknowledged to be a prolific source of disinformation relating to both health and politics.” ISD has also reported that NaturalNews has repeatedly used their platform to spread misinformation regarding the Covid-19 virus, and has right-wing ties through its founder Mike Adams. With this information, it can be assumed that NaturalNews’s intentions with this article is not to inform unbiasedly, but to persuade through the use of certain language.

Find Trusted Coverage

While NaturalNews’s coverage of Snehal Lunawat’s death does contain bias motives, the actual story regarding her death and her father’s response is true. After searching online regarding Snehal Lunawat’s condition, I found multiple articles discussing Snehal’s death and her father’s petition. Many of the sites discussing this case were India based news sites including but not limited to: Outlook Magazine, The Economic Times, Business Standard, Mint, and International Business Times. After reading every article regarding from the above mentioned outlets, none of the articles regarding this case presented the information in a way that NaturalNews did. While the articles do confirm the Snehal died, none of the articles confirmed that Snehal’s death was caused by the vaccine, but reported that this is what her father believed caused her death. None of the articles included any type of anti-vaccine rhetoric the way it did in NaturalNews.

Trace Claims

In NaturalNews’s article regarding Snehal Lunawat’s death, the article links its claims back to an article posted by The Hindustan Times on September 3, 2022. Similar to the other articles discussing this case, The Hindustan Times presented its information in an informative way without any anti-vaccine bias. Despite NaturalNews’s article using The Hindustan Times article as a source for its information, The Hindustan Times does not claim it Snehal’s death was from the result of the Covid vaccine that she took while NaturalNews does.

Investigating The Hindustan Times

Investigate the Source

On September 3, 2022, The Hindustan Times posted an article regarding the death of Snehal Lunawat. Unlike the article written for NaturalNews, The Hindustan Times article makes no confirmation that Snehal Lunwat’s death was officially caused by the vaccine nor does the article push any anti-vaccine rhetoric. According to a June 2022 report from the Reuters Institute, The Hindustan Times is the fifth most trusted news outlet with a 71% trust rating. With such a high approval rating and it’s lack of bias, this helps push the articles and the news outlets credibility.

Find Trusted Coverage

Along with The Hindustan Times, Snehal’s story has been covered by multiple other highly trusted India based news outlets (according to the Reuters Institute) including The Times of India, Economic Times, and The Indian Express all posted articles discussing the case.

Trace Claims

Though The Hindustan Time’s article regarding Snehal was written in September of this year, the article mentioned that Snehal had actually passed in March of last year. When searching this claim, articles from 2021 written by the Times of India and The Economic Times discuss Snehal’s death and her family’s reactions. In these articles the dates that are given for when she received her Covid vaccine and when she died are the exact same. While no reputable source officially claims her death was from the vaccine, the story and events leading up to her death were unfortunately real. With its lack of confirmation on what caused Snehal’s death, its absence of anti-vaccine language, and its reputable rating, The Hindustan Times’s article regarding Snehal Lunawat is credible while the one from NaturalNews is not.

Information For All

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Openness

Why is Openness on the Internet Important?

The internet is a vast place. Home to a plethora of content and information, it is no surprise that the internet plays a large role in the lives of so many people. With millions around the world using the internet to connect with others and to find information, the need for open, free and easily accessible content online is at an all time high. When we keep sources open and free, we allow more people to learn, to educate, and to share information to more people than ever before

How Do We Keep Internet Resources “Open”?

One of the best ways to make sure that openness remains on the internet is by making sure that the content we produce is both free and accessible. When we set a desire for profit aside and allow material, especially educational material, to be freely accessed by a multitude of people, this creates an environment that allows and encourages others to learn and share information. Along with free content, making content online that is accessible for disabled users is necessary when it comes to internet openness.

Accessibility

Why is Accessibility Important?

Everyone deserves access to information online. By making the internet a more accessible place, we make it possible for everyone to access and understand resources, connect with others, and to spread necessary information. By making websites accessible, it reinforces the importance of allowing everyone to have access to the internet. Disabled internet users are deserving of accessible internet content, and working to make resources accessible allows content to be available to both disabled and non-disabled internet users.

How Do We Make the Internet More Accessible?

One of the best ways to ensure accessibility online is by making sure that websites and web pages are accessible for all. One major way to ensure this is by creating websites and web pages that can be understood by screen readers. By using appropriate heading levels, providing images and graphics interchange formats with alternative text descriptions, and by making paragraph text the appropriate font and text size, these are steps that should be taken to ensure that a website or web page can be understood by a screen reader. Yale University goes in depth with discussing the importance of headings and alternative text when it comes to making a web page accessible.

Cassidy

Hello everyone! My name is Cassidy and I am a sophomore here at UMW! I love reading, journaling, brain puzzles, and watching movies! I am planning on majoring in communications and would love to be a librarian someday. I am excited to get to know you all this semester and am excited to learn more about the internet/digital media through this course!

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