SAARC nations to evolve strategy to exchange information during calamities

MUMBAI: The Press Information Bureau additional principal information officer B S Chauhan will be heading the Indian delegation at the Third Conference of Editors and Working Journalists of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries at Male. On the agenda is SAARC countries evolving a strategy to exchange information on media usage during calamities

The prime criteria is that reaching out is a must in disseminating critical information for those in the concerned affected areas.

India has reiterated that SAARC Nations should make special efforts through media so that the people, especially women and children of these areas can be brought closer to the mainstream.

With a view to reach out to people affected by terrorist acts and hilly terrain in India, Chauhan emphasised that radio coverage should be strengthened to reach the affected zone, informs an official release.

Sharing the experience of India on media management during Tsunami crisis, he said, all stations of All India Radio in southern states of India and East Coast including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where continuously broadcasting information on the developing situations in the affected areas are based on live inputs by districts and State authorities from different locations.

Radio and TV stations also broadcast information about relief measures like helplines and measures to combat epidemics. He said that, the media must be involved as a participatory agency which combines the media, government officials, government multimedia implementing agencies, NGOs, public opinion representatives and the beneficiaries.

Apprising the member countries of transparency measures being taken by India, Chauhan said India had recently adopted a legislation in Parliament relating to the Right to Information (RTI). The RTI Act is a major stride in further increasing transparency in the country and is expected to go a long way towards making officials more responsive to people’s urges articulated through the media. This is an idea, which the other countries in SAARC region may like to emulate.

SAARC is an association of eight countries of South Asia including India, Bangladesh, Bhutan,Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The two-day conference is being attended by the representatives of the SAARC countries except Nepal.

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