New Delhi – The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting urged all states and union territories to ensure “operational continuity” of print and electronic media in view of coronavirus outbreak. In a letter to the chief secretaries of all states and union territories on March 23, the ministry said robust and essential information dissemination networks like TV channels, news agencies “are of utmost importance to ensure timely and authentic information dissemination.”
Noting that proper functioning of these networks is required not only to create awareness among people but also keep the nation updated of the latest status, the letter said false and fake news need to be avoided. “Good practices need to be promoted and these networks play a pivotal role in ensuring the same,” it said.
The letter urged the state governments and union territory administrations to facilitate operational convenience of the services. 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,” it said.
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 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 said.