Video of Lebanese Reporter in Hazmat Suit Is Going Viral Around the World

ABC News | Michael Downey

Nothing is what it appears to be. Sometimes, there is more to a story than what is on the surface. Lebanese reporter Ghinwa Yatim from Al-Arabiya became the subject of ridicule due to an out-of-context video of her wearing a Hazmat suit.

Many felt indignant at her choice of outfit saying that she is creating unneeded panic around the Coronavirus, which has so far infected more than 200 people and killed 4 in Lebanon.

The video was shared all over Twitter and got 1.5 million views worldwide. In typical Twitter fashion, everything got taken out of context and Yatim was shamed for her “bad media coverage.”

However, some came to her defense, like the Lebanese award-winning journalist Rima Maktabi who retorted to an attacker abashing Yatim, “Your tweet is bad media too!” And she explained why.

Yatim would later clarify in a series of tweets what her intention was behind wearing the Hazmat suit.

On her Twitter, she writes, “A local hospital tried them to see whether these suits can protect medical teams from coronavirus, knowing that, in Lebanon, it would be hard for us to import medical suits and equipment because of economic crisis.”

Basically, a local company made the suit for her in order to test it out. She would later explain wearing the suit in order to talk about it for a story about a Lebanese company that is producing medical suits because of the difficulty of importing medical equipment to Lebanon.

Studies have shown that when people are confronted with evidence against their beliefs they tend to be double-down and that’s what a twitter user, a video journalist in Alaska, did.

He criticized the context and said that it doesn’t justify wearing the suit because it will create fear.

One of the things that we should avoid especially during this Coronavirus outbreak is adopting an attitude of self-righteousness, and getting sucked up in call-out culture, particularly towards reporters (and fellow journalists) doing their jobs on sites, and knowing what they’re doing, and how and why they are doing it.

It has been already tough on many journalists to report from the fields and exposing themselves to risks, just to keep the public informed.

Unfortunately, there have been numerous such incidents with Lebanese reporters getting bullied or called out these past months, or told how to do their jobs by people sitting in the comfort and safety of their homes.

The World Health Organization has released a set of symptoms that you should watch out for. If you or anyone you know has these symptoms, please contact the following health resources.