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COVID-19: Ojogo charges journalists to publish verified stories

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***As UNICEF, ODSG train media practitioners

Ondo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Donald Ojogo, has charged media practitioners in the State to ensure only verified stories are put out to the public, especially during the period of Coronavirus pandemic that is ravaging the world.

The Commissioner gave the charge in Akure, the State capital, while declaring open a day training programme targetted at mitigating the spread of coronavirus. He emphasized that the programme which was organised by the Ondo State Government through the Ministry of Information and Orientation in collaboration with UNICEF is aimed at sensitizing journalists on their roles to the society during this period.

Ojogo implored the media professionals to work in line with the ethics of journalism, part of which requires publishing verified and accurate stories.

He added that the UNICEF and Ondo State Government have been collaborating in several ways through production and airing of jingles on the deadly virus in order alert and educate the public on the dangers associated with the pandemic and how to prevent same. He noted that the jingles were produced in various languages spoken by people of the state, so that they can understand the messages in the simplest form.

The Commissioner reiterated that the role off the media in information dissemination, public enlightenment and education to people at the grassroots and urban cannot be underestimated.

He, therefore, appreciated media outfits in the State for collaborating with the government by airing the jingles, so as to contain the outbreak of the pandemic in Ondo State.

The State Spokesman called for more support from the media noting that there are lots of tasks ahead, as the virus has continued to spread on daily basis across the States of the federation.

The Information Commissioner maintained that the State Government under the leadership of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has left no stone unturned in the war against COVID-19 and other dreaded diseases that are inimical to the health of the people.

He stressed that Lassa fever was battled and defeated in the State few months ago and it will surely repel outbreak coronavirus.

He equally announced that measures have been put in place by the State to tackle the virus, while it had equally implemented programmes like distribution of palliatives, relief materials, foodstuff, beverages and face masks. Whilst aggressive sensitisation, fumigation of markets and public facilities across the state and provision of state-of-art equipment at the State Infectious Diseases Hospitals have been put in place to ameliorate the challenges of the people during this period.

Also speaking, the Guest Lecturer, who is also the State Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control, Dr. Stephen Fagbemi, said there must be changes in peoples approach to mitigating the spread of the pandemic, as there is need to understand the preventive messages properly.

Dr. Fagbemi opined that local languages should be used to reach people at the grassroots for better understanding, by re strategising redesigning their media content.

He noted that the virus is dreadful, but could be defeated by collective efforts of everybody in the society.

The State Epidemiologist added that Ondo State is not left out in the spread of the virus, but diligence and commitment of the Governor towards battling the virus has assisted the State against having high record, as being witnessed in some States.

Dr. Fagbemi urged media practitioners to ensure adequate publicity is done to educate the masses on the virus ravaging the globe.

He hinted that more COVID-19 patients currently on treatment in the State centre will soon be discharged.

It could be recalled that the State has discharged six out of thirteen cases being managed at the State’s Treatment Centre.

He,however urged people of the State to adhere to protocols laid down by World Health Organisation in tackling the virus by maintaining social and physical distancing, use of nose mask, regular hand washing and use of hand sanitisers regularly.

Participants were drawn from radio stations operating in the State.

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