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Government challenged on info dissemination

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Ministry of Information has been challenged to reflect deeply on how best it can use locally available resources to boost information dissemination on Covid-19 in local settings which could help reduce the spread of the global pandemic in the country.

National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust proposes that the ministry should consider having loud hailing vehicles in every constituency to be spreading messages on Covid-19, among other initiatives.

Nice Executive Director, Ollen Mwalubunju, was speaking in Mzuzu yesterday at the opening of a three-day capacity building workshop for community radio stations on Covid-19 and regional integration which was graced by Minister of Information, Gospel Kazako.

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“Just like how it was done during the elections, messages were being spread to every corner of the country. Vehicles were moving around with messages of the elections. The ministry has also studios which can be utilised to create messages which are specific for a particular area.

“For example, using chiefs and opinion leaders to read precautionary messages on Covid-19 to be aired on local media outlets can help spread the messages efficiently. Like using Paramount Chief M’mbelwa to read a message which will be broadcast on Mzimba radio,” Mwalubunju said.

He added community radio stations are vital in information dissemination especially as they carry messages in a tone that people in a particular area understand better.

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On his part, Kazako, who was on his first assignment in the Northern Region since his appointment as Cabinet minister, said the government understands the critical role that community radio stations play in information dissemination.

“Word of advice to our participants: Please, ensure that your messages emphasise precautionary measures and removing the stigma associated with Covid-19. Stigmatising those that test positive for the virus would discourage others from getting tested and the effects would be disastrous,” he said.

On the struggle that community radio stations are facing, Kazako said in the short term the government will be involving the media outlets to help in awareness campaigns so that they are able to generate some revenue.

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