Media’s role crucial in preventing spread of COVID-related misinformation
Islamabad: The risk of COVID-19 related misinformation and stigmatization is a critical challenge that requires a concerted effort on the part of all stakeholders, especially the media, which shoulders a huge responsibility in terms of keeping the public informed.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan expressed these views while addressing participants of an online workshop for health journalists organized by the Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability (TDEA) in collaboration with the Ministry of National Health Services as part of its initiative to encourage evidence-based, responsible and accurate reporting of COVID-19 response.
The workshop is part of TDEA’s long-term programme to engage key stakeholders, especially media personnel, in critical governance issues for a more informed public and political discourse.
Dr. Faisal appraised the participants about the measures taken by the government to curb the second wave of the pandemic. He identified the risk of COVID-19 related misinformation as a critical challenge, sensitized the media about is role in disseminating accurate data and news, and appreciated TDEA’s effort for organizing the workshop.
The workshop enhanced the participants’ understanding of critical aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic response. The subject matter included understanding and access to COVID-19 data, the types of COVID-19 testing, and information about vaccines. The workshop was facilitated by former SAPM Dr. Zafar Mirza, with sessions conducted by Vice Chancellor National Health Services Academy Dr. Asad Hafeez, and Dr. Usman Mushtaq and Dr. Shafiq Rehman of National Institute of Health. Health journalists from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar working with leading publications and media houses participated.
At the end of the formal sessions, Dr. Zafar provided a brief on the planned follow-up residential four-day training while Shahid Fiaz, the CEO of TDEA, provided the strategic map for TDEA’s engagement and work on improving health governance in Pakistan. He concluded the session with a note of thanks for the participants and UKAID for providing support for the initiative.
Newspaper: The News