–Says govt will set up relief fund for media workers to clear pending dues
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Saturday called for better coordination and cooperation among the federal and provincial information ministries to improve media strategy in the wake of coronavirus spread.
Chairing a video conference attended by the information ministers of all the provinces, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, Firdous said the objective behind the conference was to make a coordinated media strategy to sensitize the people about the measures being taken to fight the pandemic.
She said for accuracy, the government had decided to make the decisions of the National Coordination Committee public. All the decisions in the NCC meetings were taken unanimously, but unfortunately, a section of the media was giving them a twist, she claimed.
The PM’s aide said the federal government has allocated Rs 50 million for highlighting the NCC decisions through advertisements in both the print and electronic media, and the provinces could also follow suit.
She stressed that the provincial governments should review implementation of the decisions, measures and challenges for containing the coronavirus.
The special assistant said a WhatsApp group had been created at the ministerial level for the sharing of accurate information among the provinces. There was a need to highlight the number of recovered patients from the coronavirus so that the sense of fear among the people could be removed, she added.
Firdous said the protection of media persons was the topmost priority of the ministry and special protective kits would be provided to those visiting sensitive areas.
Three media persons in Punjab, she said, had tested positive for the coronavirus. The Press Information Department (PID) had created a corona journalist app, which would enlist the affected journalists and help them in all possible ways, she added.
The PM’s aide said a fake news-buster website had been developed by the PID so that any baseless and fake news about any province or area could be countered.
She said a segment of media workers were facing delays in the payment of their salaries. The issue would be resolved soon through an emergency relief package, she added.
She asked the provincial information ministers to take steps for the payment of outstanding dues, if any in their respective provinces, to the media houses.
The special aide said in the next video conference of information ministers on Wednesday, journalists associations would be invited to get their input for ensuring protection of the field staff of the media.