A Better Media in Times of Pandemic

Ms. Moneeza Hashmi, President of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, calls for a better media in times of global pandemic. She said media must enhance its information function to generate awareness in alerting and preparing citizens before disasters strike that can prevent death, injury and destruction.

Ms. Hashmi delivered the opening remarks before the pre-summit workshop on Managing Organizations through a Global Pandemic that was held on 28 May 2013 in Manado, Indonesia. Some 20 participants from Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa attended the one-day workshop.

She said she saw how media has become a powerful tool in preventing further health disaster when the dengue disease hit the prosperous province of Punjab in Pakistan.

Nalaka Gunawardene, TVE-AP, director, provided the context of the workshop which aims to raise awareness of pandemic issues and provide and enhance knowledge and tools available to ensure responsible broadcasting.

He said broadcast companies need to review their communication strategies amidst the rising frequency and intensity of global pandemic. This challenge calls for examining their policies and guidelines in dealing with denial and panic situations, level of media freedom, managing early warnings, social media and smart phones.

He reiterated a message from the World Health Organization, which states that "it is now time to acknowledge that communication expertise has become an essential tool for pandemic control as epidemiological training and lab analysis."

He also said broadcasters need to deal with media freedom or the extent of information they can provide in times of disaster.

The workshop organized by AIBD and the CBA featured other consultants, namely; Dr. Graham Tallis, Communicable Diseases,World Health Organisation, Indonesia, Dr. Goh Moh Heng, President, BCM Institute / Managing Director, GMH, Continuity Architects, Singapore, Dr. Mike McCluskey, Broadcast Consultant and former CEO, Radio Australia.

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