COVID-19: Need to tackle spread of pessimism and negativity, PM tells journalists

04:42 PM Mar 24, 2020 | PTI |
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said it is imperative to keep the fighting spirit of the people up as the country tackles the spread of coronavirus, and emphasised the need to tackle the spread of pessimism, negativity and rumour-mongering. Interacting with senior journalists from the print media via video links, he also said the citizens need to be assured that the government is committed to countering the impact of COVID-19. He said it is critical to improve social cohesion to safeguard national security. During the interaction, Modi asked the media to act as a link between the government and people and provide continuous feedback at both national and regional levels. "He underlined the importance of social distancing, asking media to generate awareness about its importance, inform people about the lockdown decision by states, and also highlight the impact of spread of the virus through inclusion of international data and case studies about other countries in the papers," a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said. According to the statement, Modi underlined that "it is imperative to keep the fighting spirit of the people up". The prime minister also "emphasised that it was important to tackle the spread of pessimism, negativity and rumour mongering. Citizens need to be assured that the government is committed to countering the impact of COVID-19," the statement said. The prime minister thanked the participants for the feedback and reminded them of the social responsibility towards the less privileged. Modi said the media has played a praise-worthy role in disseminating information to every nook and corner of the country. He said that the network of media is pan-India and spread across cities and villages. This makes the media all the more significant in fighting this challenge and spreading correct information about it at micro level, he said. He said that newspapers carry tremendous credibility and the local page of a region is widely read by people. It is, therefore, imperative that awareness about coronavirus is spread through articles published on this page. It is essential to inform people about where the testing centres are, who should get tested, whom to contact to get tested and follow home isolation protocols. This information should be shared in newspapers and web portals of the paper, the prime minister said. He also suggested that information like location of availability of essential items during lockdown can also be shared in regional pages. The journalists and stakeholders from print media appreciated the role played by the prime minister in communicating effectively and leading the country from the front. They said that they will work on the suggestions of the prime minister to publish inspiring and positive stories. They also thanked him for reinforcing the credibility of print media and noted that the entire nation has followed his message of coming together to face this grave challenge, the statement said. Over 20 journalists and stakeholders from print media from all over the country interacted with the prime minister via video links. The journalists joined the interaction from 14 locations and consisted of both national and regional media, representing 11 different languages.

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