Journalists urged to play role in polio eradication

Nathuagali   -   training workshop was organised for journalists in Galiyat region of Abbottabad district to impart them skills for an informed reporting on health issues and to address misconceptions about essential immunisation.

Additional Secretary Health and Coordinator Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Abdul Basit, Technical Focal Person EOC Dr Imtiaz Ali Shah, Communication Development Officer NEOC Ejazur Rehman, Media Officer EOC Shadab Younas, senior journalist Mehmood Jan Babar and journalists from Peshawar were present on the occasion. 

In the opening remarks, EOC Coordinator Abdul Basit welcomed all participants saying that it is important that correct and authentic information is disseminated effectively through media and hoped that the activity would help equip the participants with the skills required for accurate reporting on health and polio-related incidents.

He said it is important to establish effective liaison with community and media and provide fact-based PEI related information to journalists. He urged participants to own this national cause and contribute stories, columns and features that build confidence and trust of public in vaccination.

Technical Focal Person EOC Dr Imtiaz Ali Shah oriented journalists on global polio eradication initiative (GPEI), polio structures, national & regional polio updates, operational and communication challenges. He said that due to government ownership and effective liaison with line departments, most of the operational and communication challenges in the programme have been addressed while serious efforts are in progress to fix the remaining gaps.

Senior journalist Mehmood Jan Babar discussed various tools and tips for authentic reporting, current media trends and impact of misreporting with specific reference to health reporting.

He emphasised on the need for being accurate and to clearly mention source of the information apart from adding quotes of the relevant authorities to balance the news and make it more authentic.

Mehmood Jan said that pressure should be managed while reporting on health/ polio issues and solutions should be worked out to remain right and accurate while reporting health news that impact the lives of the people.

Communication Officer UNICEF Shadab Younas oriented the participants on story ideas, media tonality, and misinformation effects on public perceptions.

 She said that journalists being ears and eyes of the society should ensure accurate information in their stories as journalists are the opinion makers and play vital role in shaping public mindset.

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