Media practitioners have been urged to ensure adequate reporting of issues surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic and ensure that they don’t create unnecessary fear among the people in the fight against the virus.
This is just as journalists were asked to see themselves as partners with the government and development partners in the efforts to defeat the deadly virus that is now a threat to human existence.
Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs Funke Egbemode stated these on Wednesday while declaring open a one-day training program on Covid-19 reporting for selected radio reporters.
Speaking further at the programme organized by the Ministry of Information and Civic Orientation in collaboration with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund(UNICEF), Egbemode described Covid-19 as a pandemic that will task all journalists.
The Commissioner who was represented by the Coordinating Director in the Ministry, Mr Adebisi Popoola, stressed that it was important for people to be aware of the “dos and don’ts” as it regards Covid-19, and the only means for the people to know this is through the media, hence the need for the training.
In her words, “As you are all aware, news, our own task is that of apt and prompt dissemination of genuine news to the masses on all matters including the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“We must continue to fine tune and improve upon the task of engendering authentic information and general development in the society as this task falls squarely on the shoulders of newsmen.
“I charge you to boost your moral responsibility by working more untiringly to keep informing the society on all necessary knowledge of the novel virus as well as the precautions needed to stay safe amidst the pandemic, given the fact that prevention is better than cure.
“Suffice it to say therefore, that adequate information on necessary precautions including dismissal of wrong beliefs about the virus will be the major weapons for fighting COVID-19 to a standstill”. Egbemode stressed.
In a technical session, the Surveillance Officer for the World Health Organization(WHO), Dr Olatunde Yewande, urged journalists covering Covid-19 to be safety-conscious in the course of their job.
She stressed that understanding the virus and adhering to its safety protocols will go a long way to curtail it’s spread.
Representative of UNICEF, Mr Chima Orji described the media as ears and eyes of the people, hence the need for journalists to get the basic information on Covid-19 for the fight against the virus to be successful, stressing that the media is supposed to facilitate knowledge sharing than just giving awareness.
In his own presentation, the state of Osun Epidemiologist, Dr Abioye Olusola advised journalists to reduce individual contact with people as much as possible in a bid to reduce the spread of the virus.
In attendance were reporters from state-owned and private broadcast media platforms such as Rave Fm, Unique FM, Raypower, Crown FM, Reality Radio, Gold FM among others.