- Union Information and Broadcasting at the 17th Asia Media Summit applauded the Indian media for its role during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- It ensured that awareness messages on Covid-19, important government guidelines and free consultations with doctors reached everyone in the country.
- It strongly fought against the menace of fake news and misinformation on a real time basis.
- The media has significantly delivered on their mandate of public service by setting the trend through prompt coverage, ground reports and organisingprogrammes on public health.
- Social media has played a crucial role in spreading awareness and knowledge about public health, however, it has also been misused for spreading fake news, hatred and creating racism during epidemics.
- Even before the detection of the first case of Covid-19 in India, the epidemic of social media panic hit India, which led to stock out of masks and sanitizers from the market.
- The fake claims about transmission of virus through air and its survival on different surfaces created a panic.
- An unwarranted use of N95 masks by common people during travelling and daily activities resulted in the shortage for frontline healthcare workers who actually needed those.
- Due to existing multiple media houses in India, messages containing fake claims about use of herbal and immunity-booster medicines, religious and spiritual ways for prevention and treatment were widely circulated which added to the confusion.
- The panic was escalated by fake news such as the possibility of extending the lockdown , which resulted in individuals fleeing from quarantine or isolation facilities and unnecessary travel prior to lockdown or even during lockdown for returning to their hometown.
Role of the Media as the Fourth Pillar of Democracy
- For a democracy and its development, impartial information is critical. The media helps to provide people with important knowledge. For example, data on economics, health, education, etc.
- To educate people on topics of paramount importance to society, the media is vital. An growing number of incidents of rapeare a concern to society. It is necessary to disclose the exact number of cases and to help raise society’s awareness.
- The media reminds society of their democratic rights and the media helps in maintaining checks and balances.
- The media plays a vital role in ensuring justice and the benefits of the government policies reaching the weaker sections of the society.
- For a stable democracy, Media reporting on public affairs and investigations into wrongdoing in the administration of public affairs is must. This means exposing circumstances of fraud or abuse that favour politicians directly. This makes people vote for the best government to defeat a corrupt and dishonest government.
Asia Media Summit
- Asia Media Summit is the annual conference organised by Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) in collaboration with its partners and international organisations.
- The Conference is attended by Decision makers, media professionals, scholars, and stakeholders of news and programming from Asia, Pacific, Africa, Europe, Middle East, and North America.
- Asia Media Summit provides a unique opportunity for broadcasters in the region to share their thoughts on Broadcasting and Information and is supported by all regional and International Broadcasting Unions.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT