COVID-19: Amid coronavirus outbreak, PM Modi interacts with heads of TV news channels

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Coronavirus in India: Amid the outbreak and rapid increase of coronavirus in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held an interaction with the heads of various media organisations via video conferencing, news agency ANI reported. In a statement from the Prime Minister's Office on the PM's official website (pmindia [dot] gov [dot] in), he discussed with the key stakeholders of electronic media the emerging challenges due to COVID-19.

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While thanking the channels for understanding the gravity of the situation, he appreciated the role they played in making people aware about the disease. He also praised the technicians, reporters, camerapersons and those in the newsroom for working tirelessly and serving the nation, also appreciating the initiatives of some channels to innovate and come up with solutions like anchoring from home.

He further told them that the media channels have to maintain the delicate balance of making people keep up their guard, while also countering pessimism and panic via positive communication. He also told them that it was important to keep up the morale and motivation of doctors and health care workers, as they form the frontline in the defence against coronavirus.

Stating that channels form a valuable medium of feedback, PM Modi said that the government is acting on feedback. Moreover, expressing concern over the health of the reporters on the field, he told channels to provide dedicated boom mics to reporters and requested them to stay at least one metre away from the interviewees while on the field.

Further asking the channels to cite scientific reports, PM Modi told the stakeholders to tackle any sort of misinformation that is doing rounds.

During the interaction, mediapersons suggested PM Modi to interact with the nation more and include positive stories in his address, including the stories of those who have recovered from coronavirus. They also suggested that a department of doctors can be set up, which can work in tandem with media houses to counter any rumours. Mediapersons also suggested that government-run Prasar Bharati can disseminate authentic information twice a day which other channels can use.

Thanking the representatives for their suggestions, PM Modi asked the channels to inform the users about digital payments so that spread of virus through currency notes can be avoided. He also told them to use scientific reportage to counter any superstitions.

As of Monday 10.30 am, India has witnessed as many as 415 cases of coronavirus. Seven people have died of the disease in the country.