The Ministry of Health along with the Department of Government Information yesterday requested all media houses and journalists actively engaged in reporting the current COVID-19 pandemic to stick to authorized state information sources only and nothing else.
Director General Government Information Nalaka Kaluwewa forwarding a statement issued by the Director General Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe last evening said, the latter had announced a set of guidelines to be followed by all media personnel and houses in reporting the developing situation in the local pandemic.
The DG Health Services had requested the media to use only the confirmed and verified information disseminated through the authorised government sources, as the credibility of certain news reports being published by journalists based on the quotes and statements obtained from various individuals in the health sector authorities, could lead to a state confusion.
Therefore, the media could obtain data and situation reports issued by teh Department of Government Information, Ministry f Health and SL Army Media about the current development.
They also requested the media not to mention the ethnicity or religion of the people being subjected to quarantine, patients of deaths of the Covid-19.
It was also requested to mention the infected persons as patients of pandemic and not as someone who carry the disease to others.
The authorities informed the media not to broadcast any video footage or photograph of those being subjected to quarantine, against their will. Airing sensitive video footages of the deceased victims and the cremation process should be done with semi-blurred visuals.
The guidelines specifically request from the media not to report in a manner that would instill hatred among communities about the infected and the patients. It further stated that by doing so the potential infected persons would not present themselves to teh health services out of fear of public outrage and social stigma. Dr. Jasinghe further requested the media to cooperate in reporting to uplift the positive mindset of the public during this difficult period, whilst thanking them for their commitment thus far.(Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana)