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May 13, 2017

Workshop participants call for objective, factual reporting


May 13, 2017

Polio reporting

ABBOTTABAD: The reporting of polio cases and related issues by the electronic media was the centre of discussion at a workshop as the speakers and participants called for avoiding sensationalism while covering happenings and events.

They called for objective reporting and ensuring the authenticity of news before going on air.

The Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), Fata, had organised the one-day session “Reporting Polio” aimed at discussing the role of media in reporting polio cases and other issues related to the crippling disease and to update the journalists, particularly those reporting health issues.

Around 35 journalists from the print and electronic media participated in the workshop. The role of media in general and that of electronic media in particular was thoroughly discussed in the session. Polio Eradication Officer Fata Dr Irfan Elahi informed the participants about the poliovirus, how it spreads and transmits to humans, and briefed them about the progress made by the EOC Fata to eliminate it.

He said that no case of polio was reported in the current year in Fata. He added that only two cases of the virus had been reported in Pakistan this year, including one in Punjab and the other in Gilgit-Baltistan.

He said this was made possible due to the efforts and commitment of the anti-polio staff. He pointed out that the situation had improved in Fata compared to previous years and polio teams had managed to vaccinate children in areas considered inaccessible previously.

Replying to a question, he said the refusal cases have dropped to less than one percent in Fata.

Unicef Health Officer Dr Abdul Qayyum Khan urged the media to play its role to dispel the negative propaganda about the composition of vaccine and other misconceptions attached to the campaign against polio.

Bureau Chief of Geo News in Peshawar Mehmood Jan Babar said reporters should contact all the concerned people to make a balanced report and provide authentic information to listeners, viewers and readers.

A lively discussion ensued as almost all the participants and organisers were critical of news reporting in the electronic media. It was noted that sensationalism and competition between various TV channels was affecting the industry as in most cases the electronic media did not cross-check the facts and exaggerated the news to improve ratings.

The reporters complained about the attitude of top TV channels’ management due to which they could not verify a news item before going on air.

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