NEW DELHI: The ministry of information and broadcasting on Tuesday directed chief secretaries of all state governments and Union territories to ensure the operational continuity of all print and electronic media.
The order came in the backdrop of misinformation being spread that newspapers may be carriers of infections. There were also reports of media persons being prevented from discharging their duties in the wake of a country-wide lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.
The government, in its notice to all states, said it is important in light of the spread of coronavirus pandemic, to continue the proper functioning of all print and media media networks to create awareness and to counter fake news. “The proper functioning of these networks is required not only to create awareness among people and to give important message but also to keep the nation updated of the latest status. False and fake news need to be avoided and good practises need to be promoted and these networks play a pivotal role in ensuring the same,” the ministry order said.
The ministry has also put out a list of critical infrastructure that should be kept running. “At this juncture, robust and essential information dissemination networks like TV Channels, News Agencies, Teleport Operators, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG), Direct to Home (DTH) and High end-in-the Sky (HITS), Multi System Operators (MSOs), Cable Operators, Frequency Modulation (FM) Radio and Community Radio Stations (CRSs) are of utmost importance to ensure timely and authentic information dissemination,” the ministry has said.
The order, which asks the states to ensure that smooth operation of these services are facilitated, adds that media services are allowed to remain operational, their supply and distribution chain runs smoothly, and that movement of accredited staff of service providers, media vehicles carrying media persons, including for provisioning of fuel, are allowed to run smoothly.
The order has also directed state governments to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply and any other logistical support that may be need to run these essential services.