NEW DELHI :
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Monday directed all states, union territories to ensure the smooth functioning of print and electronic media as the threat of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic looms large across the country.
“The proper functioning of these networks is required not only to create awareness among people and to give important messages but also to keep the nation updated of the latest status. False and fake news need to be avoided and good practices need to be promoted and these networks play a pivotal role in ensuring the same," the ministry said in a statement on Monday.
The sources of news in this case would 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), cableo, frequency modulation (FM) radio and community radio stations (CRSs).
The ministry has directed that all operators of such facilities and intermediaries in the chain be permitted to remain operational and the states help in facilitating the smooth supply and distribution chain as may be required.
The facilities should be provided with uninterrupted electric supply and other logistics. Besides, movement of accredited staff, vehicles carrying media persons, DSNGs and others including provisioning of fuel, where-ever required may be facilitated, the ministry added.
Even as media outlets brave the heat in these grim times, the sanctity of credible news becomes more evident. In his address announcing ‘janata curfew’ last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had listed media among the essential services, like doctors, hospital staff, police, and government officers.
Various media outlets are making efforts to smoothen access to their digital offerings. Business Standard, which has a paywall, has made its digital platform free for four months.