NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged radio jockeys to provide feedback on the difficulties and challenges faced by people due to the coronavirus outbreak to help the government resolve their problems swiftly.
Interacting with a group of radio jockeys via video, he also urged them to spread information about the views of experts and steps taken by the government to tackle the situation.
Underlining the importance of empathy, the prime minster said it is important to tell the stories of misbehaviour with doctors, health care workers and airline staff due to societal fears of them being infected by the virus so that such challenges are overcome.
Modi said the government has announced a number of measures to assist the poor and under-privileged in these difficult times.
It is important that information about these announcements reaches the intended beneficiaries swiftly and in a timely manner, he said.
The prime minister said as mass communicators, radio jockeys can play a proactive role in informing their listeners about the announcements, along with educating them about social distancing and the importance of self-quarantine.
He also stressed on the importance of educating the public about the dedication of police personnel who are working continuously to assist people.
The prime minister said people should cooperate with police, adding that while police should avoid use of strong arm tactics, it is also necessary to enforce discipline.
He observed that the public broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) has a particularly important role to play in stopping the flow of rumours.
Modi also requested the radio jockeys to also work towards checking the spread of rumours and appreciated their role in spreading awareness about COVID-19.
He said it is praiseworthy that even during a lockdown, they are discharging their responsibility and recording programmes from home.
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said Modi told them that through the reach of the programmes, radio jockeys (RJs) are like members of families of millions of Indian households.
“People not only hear but also follow them. RJs have a great responsibility not just to disseminate and disabuse superstitions but also motivate people,” the statement said.
Apart from spreading information about the views of experts and steps taken by the government, he also requested the RJs to provide feedback about the difficulties and challenges faced by people so that the government can proactively resolve them.
Modi exhorted the RJs to disseminate positive stories and case studies, particularly of patients who have fully recovered from the disease.
He suggested that such stories can be aired throughout the country.
The prime minister also asked them to showcase and constantly celebrate the contributions of the local heroes, including police officers, doctors, nurses and ward boys at national-level.
In their response, the RJs called the prime minister as a part of the RJ fraternity since he has been hosting the monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme on radio since 2014.
Pointing out the unprecedented response to the prime minister’s call of ‘Janta Curfew’ and his innovative idea of thanking the frontline warriors, the RJs praised the leadership of Modi and said they would be happy to play the role of the voice of the nation in the battle against the pandemic, the statement said.
Modi urged the RJs to work towards ensuring a constructive and positive attitude in the society. He said that ‘an attitude of togetherness combined with positivity is the key to facing the challenge posed by COVID-19’.
Later, in a tweet, Modi said he had an extensive interaction with RJs from different parts of the country.
“Radio has a major role to play in spreading awareness on ways to fight COVID-19. I shared some ideas on how the radio can do so and also heard their innovative ideas,” he said.