I&B Ministry Issues Health Advisory For Media Covering COVID-19 Crisis

by GoNews Desk 1 month ago Views 1486
I&B Ministry Issues Health Advisory For Media Cove
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has issued an advisory to all electronic and print media journalists covering the COVID-19 crisis asking them to take precautions to safeguard their health.

"It has come to the notice of the Ministry that a large number of media persons have recently contracted COVID-19 while covering the happenings in certain parts of the country," the advisory stated.

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The Ministry has also called upon management of media houses to ensure the safety of their staff in the field and in newsrooms.

“In view of the fact that media persons, including reporters, cameramen, photographers etc are covering incidents related to COVID-19 in various parts of the country involving travel, amongst others, to containment zones, hotspots and other COVID affected areas, it is advised that all such media persons may take due health and related precautions while performing their duties”, the advisory said.

Concern has mounted after over 50 journalists in Mumbai were earlier found COVID-19 positive and 26 colleagues of an infected journalist from a Tamil TV Channel in Chennai tested positive on Tuesday.

The Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal, had said on Tuesday that measures to test journalists in Delhi were being initiated. The UP and Karnataka governments have also followed suit after Maharashtra.

Following are some of the guidelines and prevention tips issued by the International Journalists’ Network for media covering the COVID-19 pandemic for journalists:

  • Work from home if you can
  • In the newsroom, clean your work station every day with at least 70% alcohol
  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds
  • Conduct in-person interviews only if necessary
  • Keep a distance of at least three to six feet from interviewees
  • Use two microphones and sanitize them with alcohol and disposable towels
  • Clean all equipment with alcohol
  • Send teams of no more than two people 
  • Opt for places with low foot traffic
  • Wear a surgical mask when interviewing random people on the streets and discard it immediately after
The UN has said the role of journalists in informing the public during the ongoing crisis is absolutely pivotal, emphasizing that journalistic work can save lives in the current emergency situation.

“Journalists’ physical and psychological safety should come first. Media organizations should make sure that journalists are trained on sanitary precautions and equipped with protective material. When sending journalists to report on the virus, their safety must be a priority", a UNESCO statement said.

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