Ramakanta Biswas

New Delhi: In view of coronavirus outbreak, the Centre has written to all States and union territories (UTs) of the country to facilitate operational convenience to Print and Electronic Media to keep the nation updated on the latest status of the pandemic.

“Robust and essential information dissemination networks like TV Channels, News Agencies, Teleport Operators, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG), Direct to Home (DTH) and Highend-in-the Sky (HITS), Multi System Operators (MSOs), Cable Operators, Frequency Modulation (FM) Radio and Community Radio Stations (CRSs) are of utmost importance to ensure timely and authentic information dissemination,” the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) said in a letter to the Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories.

The ministry said that proper functioning of these networks is required not only to create awareness among people and to give important messages but also to keep the nation updated of the latest status.

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The MIB further stated that false and fake news need to be avoided and good practices need to be promoted and these networks play a pivotal role in ensuring the same.

At this critical juncture, ensuring uninterrupted operation of information networks as above and their outreach is of vital importance.

The critical infrastructure would include:-

(a)   Printing Presses and distribution infrastructure of Newspapers and Magazines;

(b)   All TV Channels and supporting services like Teleports and DSNGs;

(c)   DTI-/HITS operations connected equipment /facilities, etc. including maintenance;

(d)   FM/CRS Networks;

(e)   Networks of MSOs and Cable Operators; and

(f)    News Agencies.

In order to ensure continuity of these services, it has requested that State Governments/Union Territory Administrations facilitate the operational convenience of the above-mentioned services. It is accordingly requested that the following may kindly be kept in view in case any restrictions are being contemplated to be imposed for containment of COVID-l9:—

(a) All operators of such facilities/intermediaries in the chain be permitted to remain operational;

(b) Facilitating smooth supply and distribution chain as may be required

(c) The facilities should be permitted to be manned by the staff of the service providers

(d) The movement of the accredited staff of services providers be permitted

(e) The movement of vehicles carrying media persons, DSNGs and others including provisioning of fuel, where-ever required may kindly be facilitated

(f) Availability of uninterrupted electric supply and other logistics as requested by such facilities be provided;

The ministry has advised these service providers to coordinate with the local authorities in case any problem is faced by them in providing uninterrupted services.