Information ministry, ISPR to deal with media over coronavirus: Awan

Updated April 03, 2020

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Adviser to the Prime Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan and DG ISPR Major General Iftikhar Babar address the media on Friday. — DawnNewsTV
Adviser to the Prime Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan and DG ISPR Major General Iftikhar Babar address the media on Friday. — DawnNewsTV

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Friday that the information ministry, along with Director General Inter-services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar would coordinate and brief the media on the coronavirus situation.

She made these remarks during a joint press conference with the DG ISPR in Islamabad to brief the media about decisions taken by the premier during the National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting earlier in the day.

Awan added that the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) would be the hub and they would ensure that timely and accurate information was provided to the media.

"Media can become the right hand of the information ministry and the ISPR in defeating this pandemic. Together we will ensure that accurate information is provided to the people."

Meanwhile, DG ISPR also lauded the role of the media during the current coronavirus situation, noting that the media had done "objective reporting and made people aware". He added that the government needed the full cooperation of the media to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

PM to strike balance between lockdown and hunger

The SAPM also said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to strike a balance between lockdown and hunger.

Awan added that the prime minister directed that the hoarding and profiteering mafia be dealt with a strict hand. He also urged law enforcement agencies to keep a "zero tolerance policy" for smuggling and take action against any such individuals.

The prime minister also directed that no long queues be formed at the entry/exit points of provinces and that there should be no problems related to the supply chains. He directed the provincial ministers to cooperate with the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood to bring forward a comprehensive plan so that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) could be developed for the health and safety of those working in the "specific" industries that would be allowed to operate.

NCOC an 'operational nerve centre' to help govt take decisions

Explaining the purpose of the National Command and Operations Centre, the DG ISPR said that it had been formed to collect, analyse and collate data and information, draft recommendations and forward them to the National Coordination Committee — which was being headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan — so that the political leadership could take decisions.

NCOC was being headed by Planning Minister Asad Umar, he said, adding that it was an "operational nerve centre that was being used to synergise the national effort".

He added that the NCOC was using digital technology as well as human resources to trace the spread of the virus and isolating areas based on the data to control it. The data collected by the centre was also being used to provide equipment to areas where it was needed.

The DG ISPR concluded by urging people to come together to curb the spread of the coronavirus.