Experts highlight need to maintain calm during virus crisis
Karachi: Media’s role
This is one time, said Dr Murad Moosa Khan, when the media can play a really useful role. He has a few suggestions:
They should stop sensationalising, stop putting out four news bars on their channels. One slow moving should be sufficient.
No flashing of news blurb every few seconds as they tend to do. It causes anxiety in people.
Reporters and news readers should report calmly. Most speak in a really heightened state, raising the anxiety of the viewers.
Negative news about number of cases and deaths should be balanced by positive reports of what steps are being taken.
Educate the public by simple, practical messages. Keep in mind the viewers include those who are abjectly poor, may not have access to soap or clean water, who may change their clothes or have a bath once a week or once a month only and may also include those living on the streets.
Give practical tips to what people can do at home like taking up a hobby, reading, listening to music, playing board games with family, watching TV in limited amounts, using mobile phones in a limited manner, doing physical exercise — using rooftops, corridors, or even in the room. Messages should say these are essential but temporary measures.
Both the government and the media should remain honest and transparent. Where they don’t know they should say so, but also that as soon as they receive information they will share it. And they should.