‘Media plays an important role in pre-disaster and post-disaster situations with dual responsibility of sensitizing general public and reporting the facts in event of disaster’’, said Director Information & Public Relations Shri Dinesh Malhotra, while presiding over state level workshop on ‘Role of Media in Disaster Management and Risk Reduction’, here today. Himachal Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority (HPSDMA) organized the workshop.He said that feed back from media on shortcomings of operations could be used to further strengthen and improve functioning in times of disaster. He said media is a partner in governance and acts as a bridge between government authorities and people. He said that media should also file follow up stories after disaster frequently so that the authorities could correct operational gaps well in time.Shri Malhotra said timely communication from mass media about impending disaster can lead to appropriate individual and community action, which was key to implement effective prevention strategies including evacuation and rescue of people. Such communications can educate, warn, inform and empower people to take practical steps to protect themselves from natural hazards.
He said role of print, electronic and social media in informing people and authorities during emergencies becomes important for better handling of disasters. He said that during emergency, people seek up-to-date, reliable and detailed information for which media should be sensitive to the needs of public in affected areas. Media should avoid unconfirmed reports that may lead to despair and panic. He said reliable and timely information provided through media could help people in overcome any kind of fear during and after an emergency. Special Secretary (Revenue-DM) Shri D.D.Sharma said media plays leadership role in making people aware about various disasters and changing mindset of society for making it more pro-active rather than re-active. He said that HPSDMA is organizing its Flagship mass awareness and capacity building campaign and various events were being carried out throughout the state. He said that one of the key activity was state level workshop on role of media in Disaster Risk Reduction(DRR).He said that various stakeholders such as
NGOs, students, masons and general public were involved during this campaign. He said that theme of this year DRR is school safety. He said that a quiz and film shows would be organized for the students at Gaiety Theatre Shimla on 12 October,2017. He said that an awareness rally would be flagged off from the Ridge Shimla on 13th October,2017 by the Chief Secretary.He said that Himachal Pradesh is prone to 25 kinds of hazards out of total 33. He said that digital atlus on Hazard Risk Vulnerability Assessment up to block level has been prepared and put on website.Chairperson, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication HP University Dr. Vikas Dogra, while speaking on role of media in disaster, said that media’s role in disaster was crucial in all the three stages of disaster i.e. pre, during and post. He said material coming on social media should be checked and verified during disasters so that people may not mislead by false information during critical time.Media persons from electronic and print media participated in the workshop.