The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has directed all states and union territories to ensure “operational continuity” of print and electronic media in view of the COVID-19 outbreak, and ensure there is no impediment to the printing and distribution of newspapers in all cities.
This comes even as experts have underscored the importance of newspapers during the public health crisis of binding communities together, and informing their audiences with necessary warnings and the directions to prepare, survive and rebuild in emergencies.
In a letter to the chief secretaries of all states, the letter said the working of these networks is not only “essential” to keep the “people well informed and aware of the latest developments, but also to avoid fake messages.””…good practices need to be promoted and these networks play a pivotal role in ensuring the same,” it said.
The letter has urged the state governments and union territory administrations to facilitate operational convenience of the services. It also said the movement of vehicles carrying media persons, DSNGs and others including provisioning of fuel, where-ever required may kindly be facilitated; and availability of uninterrupted electric supply and other logistics as requested by such facilities be provided.
The services include TV channels, news agencies, teleport operators, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG), Direct to Home (DTH) and Highend-in-the Sky (HITS), Multi System Operators (MSOS), cable operators, Frequency Modulation (FM) radio and Community Radio Stations (CRSS).
The letter urged that in case any restrictions are being contemplated to be imposed for containment of the virus, all operators of such facilities/intermediaries in the chain be permitted to remain operational.
“The facilities should be permitted to be manned by the staff of the service providers and the movement of the accredited staff of services providers be permitted. The concerned service providers are being advised to coordinate with the local authorities in case any problem is faced by them in providing uninterrupted services,” the letter reads.