Updated: April 19, 2020 9:14:40 pm
LIKE JOURNALISTS in Mumbai and other parts of the state, journalists in Pune, too, have strongly protested the state government’s decision to ban door-to-door distribution of newspapers in cities like Pune and Mumbai and instead permit them only through newspaper stalls.
Making the announcement on Sunday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackery said newspapers in cities like Pune and Mumbai should not be distributed door to door in a bid to stop the spread of the virus. “Instead they can be sold at newspaper stalls,” he said.
Protesting the move, Prasad Kulkarni, president of the Pune Union of Working of Journalists (PUWJ), said, “At a time when rumour mills, especially on social media, are working overtime, the dissemination of authentic information is the need of the hour. Newspapers have been diligently discharging their duties towards citizens. In view of this, banning their distribution door to door is not the right step.”
Kulkarni said besides providing accurate news, the newspaper also played a pivotal role in providing information to readers about various policy decisions, key government announcements, giving updates on the coronavirus spread and raising awareness on the disease.
“If newspapers are kept away from readers, citizens will be deprived of vital information,” he said. The PUWJ said various scientists had repeatedly said coronavirus did not spread through handling of newspapers. “Besides, newspapers have said they have provided masks and gloves to people who print and distribute newspapers,” it said, demanding a review of the government decision.
Other journalists said the state government’s decision will hit the newspaper industry and journalists hard. “Due to the lockdown, newspaper advertisement revenue has shrunk. The newspapers are already going through a bad phase. In such a crisis, the government should not further make the situation difficult for journalists who are putting in all their might at this critical juncture,” said journalists in Pune.
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