Dr A Ibomcha Sharma, IIS
Contd from previous issue
We have seen not only in National media but also in local print and electronic media special communication campaigns to promote preventive measures like wearing masks, social distancing, frequent washing of hands, healthy eating, regular exercises, spiritual orientation etc.
Fighting fake news on media is an important area which can’t be overlooked by both the authorities in administration and media circle during emergency situations like living with Corona. Roping in institutions of higher studies and scientific research for joint engagements in the fight against the pandemic is also critically important. Around 700 Indian scientists from all over the world voluntarily established the Indian Scientists’ Response to COVID-19 (ISRC) platform to provide authenticated and factual information to the public, which can be accessed through the website, indscicov.in.
The right and scientific information is available in many regional languages in the website, thus helping to refute the various misinformation and fake news. The website also provides inputs regarding maintaining mental health, societal issues related to the deadly virus, scientific research and healthcare-oriented information. Similarly,Covid Gyan, an initiative of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), bring together various resources related to COVID-19.
Social media, a double-edged sword with a sizeable chunk of its users in young age group, carries both facts as well as fake news and especially during the pandemic, Government and private organisations like Prasar Bharati, Press Information Bureau, India Science TV, Indian Scientists’ Response to COVID-19 (ISRC) and Covid Gyan, National and regional channels of television and radio, community radio etc. play an active role in enlightening the people about the right and timely information.
India Science TV, a science-based OTT platform of Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology streams many documentaries related to COVID-19 apart from the regular official bulletin on the same. Regional kendras of All India Radio and Doordarshan, Bureau of Outreach and Communication through its Regional Outreach Bureaus and Field Outreach Bureaus and regional and branch offices of Press Information Bureau are engaging themselves not only in dissemination of information but also in countering fake news and misinformation to contain COVID-19 pandemic, when social media, WhatsApp in particular, has emerged as a major source of information. This has helped the public at large with the right information and the show must go on in the larger interest of the humanity.
1.Media: Our Partner in Corona Times, Facebook post of Vice President of India Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, 19 July, 2020
2. Vice President hails media for partnering with people in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, https://pib.gov.in, 19 July, 2020
3. The Role of Social Media in the Advent of COVID-19 Pandemic: Crisis Management, Mental Health Challenges and Implications, Jaffar Abbas et al, Risk Management and Healthcare Policy, Vol. 14, 2021, www.dovepress.com
4. PM interacts with Print Media journalists and stakeholders, https://pib.gov.in, 24 March, 2020
5. COVID-19: Fighting fake news more challenging than the pandemic, https://pib.gov.in, 14 December, 2020
The writer is Asst. Director/Head of Office Regional Outreach Bureau, Imphal,
Bureau of Outreach and Communication, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India
Email: [email protected]