Shillong ( Meghalaya), July 15 : The Directorate of Information and Public Relations in collaboration with the Health Department, Meghalaya organized a One- day Sensitization Programme with members of the Press Fraternity on COVID-19 on Thursday at Anton Hall, here .
The meeting was attended by Editors, Producers, Journalists, Correspondents etc., from various Media houses of the state along with Officers from the Health Department and the Directorate of Information and Public Relations.
Addressing the participants, Ms. M. War Nongbri, IAS, Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya, Information and Public Relations Department, highlighted the various awareness initiatives undertaken by the Government through the State COVID-19 Communication Coordination Unit in informing and educating the public on different aspects relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She further informed the gathering that the main objective of the programme was to discuss and deliberate on the different ways and means how the Government and the Press fraternity could work together for effective and accurate dissemination of information to the public. Besides expressing her gratitude to the Press Fraternity for their selfless and untiring work which they have rendered during the COVID-19 situation, including the previous year, she solicited for their continued and consistent support to the Government to further strengthen its efforts in effectively spreading important information and messages to the public.
During the interactive session, members of the Press Fraternity highlighted various pertinent issues involving the Media in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Matters relating to Combating the spread of Fake News and Misinformation particularly with regards to the Vaccination Campaign was discussed at length, where the Secretary stressed on the roles and the responsibilities of the Media in publishing correct and accurate information while reporting or covering news/events related to COVID-19.
She implored the members present to actively coordinate with the Government in promoting the Vaccination campaign so that the State can achieve the target of the total number of persons required to be inoculated. “Only by achieving this target, that we as a state and its citizens can return back to normalcy.” she stated.
The interactive Session also saw the Media fraternity raising several issues relating to Health infrastructure, Awareness level of the public, Data and Statistics on COVID-19, Queries on COVID-19, Vaccine Hesitancy among others, which were clarified by Doctors from the Health Department.
Earlier in the programme, a presentation on the current COVID-19 situation of the state was presented by doctors from the Health Department. Others who spoke during the programme were B. S. Sohliya, MCS, Director of Information and Public Relations, Dr. A. Dkhar, Surgeon Superintendent, Shillong Civil Hospital, Dr. F V Kharshiing, Joint Director DHS MI, Dr. P Manners, Joint Director DHS MCH cum State Immunisation Officer, Dr. B. Decruse, Nodal Officer IEC Covid-19 and R. Nongkhlaw, Deputy Director, DIPR, Shillong