Don’t shoot the messenger

Editorial

THE phrase “don’t shoot the messenger” means one should not blame the bearer of bad news.
And in times of this global pandemic, no messenger should be shot at while they are out doing their job.
The messengers role is to deliver news, be it good or bad, that’s their responsibility.
Until the advent of modern telecommunication, messages were usually delivered by human envoys.
On Wednesday, copies of The National were taken from the sellers and thrown into a pool of water at Eriku, Lae.
We also have reports that newspaper vendors for both dailies including Post Courier were harassed by police officers on foot beat.
While we understand and appreciate the policemen’s effort in enforcing the Government’s directive to making sure there is no public gathering, we expect them to also understand the importance of information.
How do we expect the public to know what is required of them or what they are supposed to be doing if they do not have access to information?
Not everyone has the luxury of owning a smart phone to be on social media to know about the 14-day state of emergency lockdown.
That is where the mainstream media, be it print or electronic come in.
It is our role to disseminate information.
In times like this, we are all partners – health workers, law enforcing agencies, all concerned international partners, the Government and the media.
It is a time for unity, we all should be looking out for each other.
The Government announced its planned strategies and this now should be understood by everyone in the country, from the towns to the villages.
Fake news is spreading like wild fire and that is why the truth must be told so there is no panic and anxiety among people.
All concerned stakeholders should promote content around basic infection prevention practices, symptoms of Covid-19 and when to seek health care. Let’s share facts and accurate information about the coronavirus.
The way we communicate can affect the attitude of others.
Right now, an environment needs to be created in which the disease and its impact can be discussed and addressed openly, honestly and effectively.
As a newspaper, we understand our role – we will not sensationalise to make money but provide as much information as we can on coronavirus.
We share the Government’s sentiment of making sure all citizens receive accurate information so that there is order and for people to remain calm.
When there is no information flowing, people will be susceptible to rumours and that does not help anyone.
What our people need right now is accurate, consistent and regular information.
Proper communication can save human lives. The mass media can significantly influence the behaviour of people.
And that is why it is necessary to all concerned stakeholders to cooperate and work together with the media, and particularly proactively provide information in a crisis situation.
The risk posed to all journalists is high as they come into contact with the many different people as they strive to get news during this period.
But in times like this, the media has a role to play in such times.
We commend the tireless effort of our law enforcing agencies and we hope going forward, there will be better understanding on everyone’s role.

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