‘Media playing utmost role in fighting COVID-19’

Kathmandu, March 23 (RSS):

Speakers at a discussion in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology today stressed the need of right and timely information in times of crisis. As the entire world is braving coronavirus, effective role of media is sought in Nepal too.

The state-owned and private media houses have been praised for playing their role in tackling crisis ranging from the devastating earthquake of April 2015 to the present state. This time around, the media is at its best in tackling the virus by disseminating awareness and right information.

The discussion was attended by Minister for Communications and Information Technology Dr Yubraj Khatiwada and chiefs and representatives of State-own media houses and other subordinate bodies. The meeting zeroed in on prompt responsive measures to fight and control the infection. Smooth delivery of right information and government’s decisions on the COVID-19 was stressed by the Minister.

Minister Khatiwada said media houses were delivering information related to the infection as expected, and this should be made more effective.

On the occasion, National News Agency (RSS) Executive Chair Shyamal Adhikari was for disseminating the State’s views, increasing relations with experts, bringing out preventive and containment efforts taken at the people’s level and countering negative and fabricated news with the fact-based news by bearing in mind the gravity of the current situation.

He said the RSS was doing its best to give a wide coverage to the coronavirous-related news despite its limited human resources. “Though the RSS has not its representatives at all border points, it has been collecting and disseminating news with the help of its State offices representatives and district stringers.”

The RSS online service is available from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm each day and the service includes Nepali news bulletin, English, International, feature, photo and audio services. 

Similarly, Radio Nepal’s Executive Director Suresh Kumar Karki said the organisation disseminated services with the help of its correspondents and also used the RSS services. “Currently it presents news in 21 different languages and the COVID-19 related information and news are on the top priority in all news bulletins.  Direct dialogues with the people about COVID-19 and experts views are also on the focus to increase public awareness of the disease.”

Nepal Television’s Chair Dr Mahendra Bista informed the meeting that the Coronavirus Special Talk was being presented each day after the 7:00 am morning news. The issue had been incorporated in comedy shows as well to increase public awareness about the global pandemic of the disease.

Gorkhapatra Sansthan Executive Chair Krishna Murari Bhandari briefed the meeting that collection of news about the coronavirus from all its seven state bureaus and dissemination of reports was going on.

The Sansthan’s publications: Gorkhapatra daily, The Rising Nepal daily and their online services featured the coronavirus-focused news, discussions and opinions of experts.  Press Council Nepal’s acting Chair Kishor Shrestha said procedures had been initiated  to seek a legal action against those online media disseminating fake news on COVID-19.

Nepal Telecom Managing Director Dilliram Adhikari said the coronavirus-related public awareness message being disseminated through mobile phone ring tones had turned to be effective and the company was preparing to launch an SMS service system for the public awareness.  

Nepal Telecommunications Authority Chair Purushottam Khanal demanded the restriction in the dissemination of wrong information while Minimum Wages Fixation Committee Chair Rajendra Aryal sought a job safety of working journalists during the crisis.

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