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COVID-19: Print and electronic media are an essential service, Centre tells states

Print and electronic media are an essential service whose operational continuity should be maintained, the Central Government has told all state governments and UTs. This is because they raise awareness, provide latest updates, and play a “pivotal role in ensuring avoidance of fake news and promotion of good practices”. This comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day curfew to inhibit the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. This also follows Modi’s video conference with print journalists on March 24 and with news channels on March 23.

To ensure that media remains operational, the Centre has advised states to consider allowing the movement of accredited staff and their vehicles, and to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity and other logistics used by media facilities.

The government has recognised the following as critical infrastructure for media’s operations:

  • printing presses and distribution infrastructure of newspapers and magazines
  • news agencies
  • TV channels and supporting services such as teleport operators and Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG)
  • Direct to Home (DTH) and Highend-in-the Sky (HITS) operations including their maintenance
  • Multi System Operators (MSOs) and cable operators
  • Frequency Modulation (FM) radio and community radio stations.

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