–PM’s aide says ‘giving airtime to recovered patients will reduce the stigma against them’
–Rejects Sindh info minister’s demand to change name of ‘Corona Tigers Force’
ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Wednesday asked the media to focus on positive coronavirus reporting to dispel the panic that has gripped the nation for over a month now.
Addressing a video conference of all provincial information ministers, SAPM Awan said: “Hearing negativity all day, constantly seeing numbers increasing, can have a negative impact on people’s mental health.”
“By giving airtime to recovered patients, we can reduce the stigma against them,” she said.
Pakistan has so far succeeded in preventing the unconfined spread of coronavirus. On Wednesday, over a month after the first case was reported, the national tally stands at 2075 after the emergence of 36 new cases. 84 patients have completely recovered so far, according to the national database.
In today’s meeting, the SAPM said that “the job of the [provincial] information ministers is to inform the people of the truth as well as reduce panic and fear among the public.”
“The prime minister said in the cabinet meeting yesterday that hiding facts is akin to causing harm to the country,” she said.
“By hiding ground realities, this virus will flourish,” she said, adding that all information received by the provinces should be shared.
In the meeting, Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah requested the federal government to change the name of the Corona Tigers Force to “something neutral”. To which Awan responded that “cause was more important than the name”.
“Sindh chief minister can discuss this with the prime minister during the National Coordination Committee meeting today,” she said. Both Shah and Awan agreed that the aim was to overcome the coronavirus health crisis.
Shah assured Awan that Sindh government will cooperate with Centre “in every way” and “follow any advisory issued by the premier”.
Coming towards media, Awan reiterated her assurance to address the challenges faced by the fraternity amid the epidemic. According to her, the government is in the process of introducing a mobile application for journalists which will provide data to members of the fraternity that will be diagnosed with the disease.
She added that the government has also created a protective kit for journalists, in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA).
“The protective kit will only be provided to those professionals that are visiting isolation centres and quarantines,” she said.
Earlier in the day, SAPM Awan announced that a video conference will be held later in the day to discuss the media strategy, in addition to the matter of outstanding payments to the media houses.
میڈیا ہاؤسز کے واجبات کی ادائیگی کیلئے حتمی لائحہ عمل ترتیب دینے پر گفتگو ہو گی۔وائرس زدہ جگہوں پہ کوریج کے لئے جانے والے صحافیوں اور میڈیا ورکرز میں حفاظتی کٹس کی تقسیم کے طریقہ کار پر بات چیت ہو گی۔#COVID2019 #StaySafeStayHome
— Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan (@Dr_FirdousPTI) April 1, 2020