Acting swiftly in the wake of problems faced by media in their daily operations, specially by newspapers whose deliveries are affected due to vendors and Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has directed all states and union territories to ensure "operational continuity" of print and electronic media in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
In a letter to the chief secretaries of all states and union territories on March 23, the ministry said 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, FM Radio and Community Radio "are of utmost importance to ensure timely and authentic information dissemination".
The ministry said, “The 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. False and fake news need to be avoided and good practices need to be promoted and thees networks play a pivotal role in ensuring the same.
“At this juncture, ensuring uninterrupted operation of information networks as above and their outreach is of vital importance. The critical infrastructure, in this case, would include:
(a) Printing presses and distribution infrastructure of newspapers and magazines
(b) All TV channels and supporting services like teleports and DSNGs
(c) DTH/HITS operations connected equipment/facilities, etc. including maintenance
(d) FM/CRS networks
(e) Networks of MSOs and Cable Operators
(f) News agencies
“In order to ensure continuity of these services, it is requested that State Governments/UTs facilitate 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-19.
(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 concerned service providers are being advised to coordinate with the local authorities in case of any problem is faced by them in providing uninterrupted services.”